Google+ Chat Changes Require Explicit Invitations

Google appears to have made a tweak to the way in which it handles chatting in Google+, as it now requires users to explicitly invite others to their chat lists.

The company has begun advising users via a small popup over their chat list, which links to a Google+ help page.

“We wanted to offer more control over who you can chat with in Google Plus,” the page says. “So we’ve made a change that requires you to explicitly invite people for them to appear in your chat list. For Gmail, orkut, and iGoogle users, we’ll continue to include the people you can already chat with in those properties.”

That page also notes that all users in a user’s Google chat list will have access to the original user’s email address. “We are working hard to remove this restriction so that you can invite your circles more easily in the coming months,” Google added.

Users can invite others to Google+ via an email; the new change also appears to place an additional control on whether or not the invitee also should be added to the chat list. Google notes that the Google+ chat list is already populated with people who the user has connected and chats with in Gmail, iGoogle, Google Talk, or orkut. Chat windows will appear even when a user navigates away from the stream.

Rarely does a day go by without Google making some change to the policies or formats of its latest social network, which has captured 20 million unique visitors. The most recent challenges involve pseudonyms and business names, both departures from the Google+ motif of connecting users under their “real names”.

Going forward, Google will provide users with a warning and give them a chance to correct their name before suspending an account for a terms of service violation, Google’s Bradley Horowitz wrote in a Google+ post on Monday night. “Of course whenever we review a profile, if we determine that the account is violating other policies like spam or abuse we’ll suspend the account immediately,” he added.

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