With the launch of Google+, Google is going all out promote sharing and, well, social networking on Google+ by forcing all users to keep a public profile. When Google Profile was launched, users had the option to either have a public profile or a private one. Having a private profile means that no one has any means of knowing that the profile exists.
As spotted by Greg Finn of Search Engine Land, Google is forcing everyone who has a private profile to go public by announcing that they will delete the private profiles by 31st of July 2011. That means anyone who wants to use Google new social networking site Google+ will have to make their profile public, since Google+ requires a Google Profile. Users have to make atleast their full name and their gender public on their profile.
Google has updated their public profile help page about the decision:
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.
If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.
Those who still want to maintain some privacy can still hide their profile from search results. To do that, go to your Profile, click on Edit, scroll down and change the "Search visibility" setting.