GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED that it will soon offer users the chance to keep their gender hidden from others. The new privacy setting is in response to feedback from users.
Frances Haughen, a Google Plus product manager, said that “gender can be a sensitive topic, especially on the internet”, reports the Los Angeles Times. Users will be able to make their gender setting universally visible, visible to only people within certain circles, or hidden completely.
However, anyone signing up to the social networking site will still have to indicate which gender they are. It’s thought that this information will used for targeted advertising.
There are also grammar concerns when it comes to identifying somebody by gender. According to the Washington Post anyone who chooses to hide their gender on Google Plus will now be referred to as ‘they’ when updates are posted; for example ‘Fran updated their profile’.
Google has been quick to address any grammatical concerns, with Haughen joking:
Yes, I know this is grammatically questionable. You don’t need to message me about it.
Meanwhile Mashable reports that three quarters of Google Plus users are male, and 95 per cent of the users who say they are ‘looking for love’ are also male. However the majority of people who were sampled don’t indicate a preference. Sixty per cent of users say they are web developers or software engineers.