Many Google+ users are familiar with Facebook’s feature to send Private Messages. This feature allows Facebook users to communicate privately without other friends seeing the exchange of messages, which often contain very personal or private information. Twitter also has a similar feature called a Direct Message, which allows users to send private tweets, albeit with a 160 character limit. These messages cannot be easily shared publicly, unless the recipient decides to copy and paste a message. Though it should go without saying that you shouldn’t ever send anything over the Internet you wouldn’t want the whole world to know about anyway (especially if you’re a politician with the last name of Weiner), private and direct messages are a good way to start an extended conversation that could, at the least, annoy your friends in a public stream.

send a private or direct message on google plusGoogle+ does not have a Direct or Private Message feature built in, but there is a slightly less obvious way to send a message that only one other person can receive and read. To send a direct or private message on Google+, just start typing an update in your Stream on Google+ like usual. However, you’ll choose to share that update with only that one person whom you wish to receive your private message. Then, right after you send it, click the triangle in the upper right hand corner of the post you just sent to reveal options for the post, and select Disable reshare. This will prevent the recipient from sharing the private message with anyone else, which would make it not private.

Additionally, Google+ users have the option to include a feature to allow others to email them right from their Google+ profile. Users who enable this function will have a Send an Email button underneath their profile picture. This button can be limited to the user’s circles, extended circles, custom defined users, or anyone on the Web. As a result, you may only have limited ability to send an email to other Google+ users as a way of sending a private or direct message. If you want to enable this function for yourself so others can send you an email via Google+, just visit your own profile and click the blue Edit Profile button, and then click the email button under your photo.