As Google works out its social-networking kinks, it has announced a new privacy setting: Google+ users will soon be able to keep their gender hidden from others. "Gender can be a sensitive topic, especially on the Internet," says a Google product manager in an online video. Starting this week users can keep their gender—"male," "female," or "other"—entirely private or public, or reveal it only to certain "circles."
But the service will still require users to identify their genders. This could be to facilitate targeted advertising deals, notes the Los Angeles Times, but Google says there's another big reason behind the requirement: It wants to know which pronouns to use in relation to your account. "Google is committed to building products that people all over the world can use and in some languages gender is much more deeply a part of how sentences are formed than say, English." In other Google privacy news, Mark Zuckerberg and some Google bosses have hidden their numbers of followers on the site—losing their place on its “most popular” list. (Read more Google stories.)