Want to keep your Google profile between you and your friends? Too bad.
Google+ profiles will not be allowed to remain private, with users required to make at least their full name and gender public in order to use the site.
Google wrote on its public profiles page of the upcoming change:
The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.
Keep in mind that your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.
Those who have private profiles and don't want to go public can either delete their profiles or wait and let Google delete them for you. All private profiles will be nixed after July 31, 2011, warns Google.
Still, Google+ will still let users retain certain controls over what other people can see. Users can remove their profiles from being found in Google search on their account page, where the "Help others find my profile in search results" button may be unchecked.
You can also see what your profile looks like to other people by going to your profile page, and clicking on "View profile as..." which will let you type in another person's name, or select "Anyone on the web." It's a lot like Facebook's profile preview feature.
Search Engine Land notes that Google made the right choice in announcing the change to users ahead of time:
Google Buzz encountered some issues early about forcing users to be public, but then changed its stance. This does not look to be the case with Google+ as these changes were premeditated and have been announced for almost 3 months now.