How to Remove Google Plus Circles from Google Talk

Google+ has changed the way Google services mix and interact in a big way. With the upcoming change to Google’s privacy policy essentially combining every Google service under one umbrella of terms, it’s clear that Google’s long-term intentions are to intermix various services as much as possible.

Once side effect of this integration can be found on Google Talk. My Google Talk account is a central hub for my daily business communications, allowing me to keep in touch with other members of a team as we coordinate our daily tasks. Sadly, my Adium buddy list took a dramatic turn when Google combined Google+ circles with your Google Talk buddy list. What was a group of twelve individuals quickly turned in to a mass of hundreds, many of whom I circled because of recommendations other people on Google+ had given.

Over the past week or two, I’ve experienced an increase in the amount of chat requests being made through Google Talk, many of which were related to information that I generally don’t dispense through an IM client at all as it makes it difficult to coordinate a clear answer with the rest of the team. How do you solve this? Is there an easy way to split your Google+ and Google Talk friends list? Yes, there is.

How to Get it Done

The process of taking your Google+ circles out of your Google Talk buddy list is incredibly quick and easy, though Google has managed to hide the feature pretty well from most users. As it currently stands, Google has (in my opinion) done a fairly bad job of making things easy on the user when it comes to privacy. I can only hope that with the rollout of the new privacy policy, this changes.

Here are the steps you need to take to remove circles from your Google Talk buddy list, today.

  • Open Google+ and sign in.
  • Navigate to the main page. It should be the one with everyone’s content from your circles.
  • Locate the messaging area on the page. It’s usually in the lower left area of the sidebar.
  • Click the down arrow to the right of your name.
  • Select Privacy Settings.
  • Choose Custom.
  • Uncheck the circles that you do not wish to include in your Google Talk buddy list.
  • Hit Save.
  • You should see your buddy list shrink down to a manageable amount.

This is all you should really need to do to restrict the amount of names in your list and IMs that pop up throughout the day. Keep in mind that you’re also restricting people from contacting you on Google+ beyond seeing their updates in your news feed.

What Not to Do

Google Contacts is a great way to manage phone numbers and other contact information for friends, family, and coworkers. Recently, Google+ circles have appeared in this area, as well. Thankfully, Google has them separated by default.

Removing contacts from Google Contacts can actually have a negative impact on your Google+ Circles. Deleting someone from contacts may also remove them from a given circle, making it a nightmare to get things back the way they were after the fact.

The best rule of thumb here is to exercise caution before obliterating this list. If all you want to do is block people from appearing in your IM client, the above instructions should put you on the right track.

What about you? What are your favorite Google+ tips and tricks?

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