Friday, December 2, 2011

How Do I Send a Private Message in Google+?

There was a lot of excitement and chatter on Google+ on Wednesday after Dan Lynch's Google+ webinar. Dan lifted the veil of mystery about Google+ for family historians and got everyone energized to get more actively involved.

After the webinar, one of my Google+ friends wondered how to contact me privately on Google+.  I'm sure there are a lot of people wondering how to do this.  Google+ is different in this regard from Facebook.  On Facebook there is an internal email system where you can send someone a message.  There's no email on Google+. The Google+ method is simply to send a status update to just one person. [Technically speaking you can do this on Facebook too.]

Sending a Private Message in Google+

In the status box type a + sign and then continue with the name of the person you want to send a private message to.  When you do this you'll notice that Google+ automatically adds that person's name in a blue box in the "Send To" field.

Notice that Public is also listed there. That's  a mistake.  In order to make the message private click the X on Public and get rid of it.

[Click on the photos to enlarge]

Your message should just have one individual's name in the blue box below and in the status box up above.  It's not actually necessary to add the +Name in the text box.  However, if the person has notifications set then they will see the message quicker via email or some other method.

When you receive a private message you can confirm this by clicking on the word 'Limited' to the right of the name of the sender and the time.  Unfortunately, there are no other bells and whistles to indicate you have a received a private message between two people. When you click on this word you can see exactly who can read the message.  In this particular case only Geoff and I can see the message.

The conversation can continue but it's private.  Only the people who are included in the conversation can view the conversation.  It takes some getting used to and it's a big shift from using email.  I suppose the trick is to be diligent about who is included in a 'Limited' conversation and to be sure to limit a message or conversation when you are sending.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial
    I'm not sure I would have figured that out on my own.

  2. I was so frustrated trying to figure out how to send a message to someone. Thank you, thank you!!