There's a transcript at https://plus.google.com/106912596786226524817/posts/KCUbRMKQ...
"One of the major things we use gender information for on Google+ is for picking gender pronouns - her, his, theirs - when we refer to you. Google is committed to building products that people all over the world use, and in some languages gender is much more deeply part of how sentences are formed than in say, English. Having gender information helps to make Google+ more conversational. If you decide to make your gender private on Google+, we'll to use gender-neutral language to describe you whenever someone else encounters gender-related information about you but doesn't have permission to see your gender. For example, instead of saying 'Greg added you to his circles' or 'Frances added you to her circles', we'll say 'Greg added you to their circles' or 'Frances added you to their circles'. Yes, I know this is grammatically questionable. You don't need to message me about it. We value helping people control their privacy as being much more important than being grammatically perfectly."
I know, I know..troll
Actually, I think you just missed the joke, that's all.
Now, Russian has 3 genders, that includes neutral, but neutral is a gender of its own, not a catch-all case for when things are neither masculine nor feminine. So unless the product completely avoids using verbs in past tense, making the language gender-neutral and natural-souding for Slavic group of languages is pretty much impossible.
In spanish, for example
La casa de mi amigo / La casa de mi amiga.
If you were to try to do it in a gender neutral manner ...
La casa de una persona que conozco bien.
Which translates roughly to "the house of a person that I know (and know well)."
English is the one where people get bent out of shape over it.
By that logic, Americans are probably more upset about this than, say, Nigerians (I assume Nigerian culture(s) are rather less PC than American culture).
I also suspect it's a PC thing.
In English, some people still use they/their in this case. In Portuguese (and I think Spanish and other major Latin languages) you can't do that.
PS. I have only rudimentary knowledge of Arabic so any native speakers, forgive me if I'm way off.
In Chinese, while he and she is pronounced the same way ("ta"), the writing is different for he 他 and she 她. That's the only difficult part I could think of in Chinese, there are no changing word endings, etc.
In German is should be more difficult, because there is no "their" like in English to replace her and his.
Here is how that looks: „Fügen Sie hier eine kleine Beschreibung über sich ein, damit andere wissen, dass sie die/den richtige/n Name erwischt haben.“ (“Put a little about yourself here so people know they've found the correct Name.”)
See those slashes at the end? They just write both and separate the two variants with slashes. An ugly and common solution, I’m not aware of any better solutions in German, though.
If someone hides their gender and you see posts like Dan who wished to hide their gender would be exposed with "Dan has not filled out his profile yet."
Oh wait, they already had that.
If this was the actual policy - and not just the side effect of their inability to control them - I think it would be reasonable.
EDIT: "Starting later this week"
Are people really gonna switch a button that lets them hide their gender, something that can usually be easily found out by looking at the user's firstname and/or profile picture?
Bob added you to his or her list
So, I think they needed to re-word more than just the profile section with gender-neutral pronouns. I don't think this is a trivial task, and maybe that's why it will take until the end of the week.