I was invited to join Google+ and thought I’d enjoy building an alternative to FaceBook. However, it was a wee bit unsettling to have my gender information demanded (“Required“), though at least I was provided the option of checking male, female or “other.” As one of our commenters mentioned in an email to us,
Anyone signing up for Google+ is forced to choose a gender. This gender MUST be visible to the whole world, and various aspects of the user interface present things as if gender were THE defining feature of a person (besides their e-mail address).
He was right at the time he left the comment, and Google has since made a few changes. [Updated to reflect DavidC’s comment.] The gender must be visible when you register, as a default, but now that I have a Google+ profile, I’m provided the option of altering the availability of gender information: Anyone on the web, extended circles, your circles, or only you.
In any case, the gender line is always available on the “about” tab of my Google+ profile. I didn’t realize it would be when I filled out the information. What the aitch? Is this necessary? Surely members of tight-knit (whoops, don’t say ‘groups’) networks don’t need to have my gender-identification constantly available, nor do I.
My proposal for the day: Everyone who accepts a Google+ invite should say OTHER! Let’s stick it to the info-demanders.