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An Introduction to Google+ What You Need to Know to Get Started

August 01, 2011

I have found the learning curve of Google+ to be very gentle, and the interface is very intuitive. It is very easy to work out how to use the service, and how to share information with the people you choose.

Lets get started!

Google+ is currently in limited field trial, but when it becomes available to everyone you will want to have a basic idea of how this new service works before you jump in at the deep end.

‘– An important note about Field Trial –

You’re part of a small group of people who are helping to test Google+. When you share something with people who are not yet able to use Google+, they will receive it via email but won’t be able to comment or engage with the content like other Google+ users. They’ll be able to join Google+ as we let more users in over time.’

It’s early days yet, but the service is fast becoming a platform for many different types of sharing. This is a point of difference from other social media sites which only encourage one type of sharing behavior.

You can choose exactly which people you want to share your updates with. You can limit your posts to specific groups of people that you set up, and if you choose you can make some or all your posts public. Posting is private or limited by default, and from there you choose groups with whom you would like share your updates.

You can share photos, and videos as well as text updates. Whereas Twitter has a 140 character limit, there is no limit on Google+.

Like Facebook, you can show your appreciation for a post without commenting. You can click the +1 button, which has a similar function to the Facebook ‘like’ button.

In short, Google+ combines the best functionality of many existing social media sites, and builds upon common actions that are familiar to existing social media users.

Worried About Privacy?

Your profile is public by default, as Google’s point of view is that a social network should be just that: social. On the other hand the only information Google requires you to have publicly visible is your full name and gender. Soon you will not even be required to have your gender publicly visible.

Basics of Sharing Content on Google+ What is the Stream?

The stream is like Facebook’s Wall – your posts and the posts of people you follow will be visible here.

What are Circles and how do they work?

Find a typo?

Use the drop-down menu of your post to edit or delete it. Don’t want people to leave comments or reshare it with others? You can turn that off there too.

How to Disable Photo Tagging

Re-sharing a link or post

When you re-share someone else’s post you may see the message: ‘This post was originally shared with a limited audience – remember to be thoughtful about who you share it with.’ This lets you know that the original poster may not want a wider audience to see the content – it is better not to re-share these items as public posts!

Muting Posts

Occasionally you  will find that some posts are so popular, that the comments seem to fill up your stream!

To hide these posts, click the small grey arrow within a circle at the top right of the post and select the mute option. You can undo the muting at a later time if you wish to go back and read the post, by clicking on the yellow bar in your stream which now hides the muted post.
Clicking the same little grey arrow on a post you made gives you these options: Edit this Post, Delete this Post, Disable Comments, and Disable Reshare. This last option is useful if you don’t want your content to be seen by extended circles or people outside the circle with whom you have chosen to share your content.

Are My Posts Public or Private? How Can I tell?

Green: People who are not in your circles may see your post

Blue – Only people in your circles can see this post unless it’s shared – if you don’t wish it to be shared, use the disable reshare option as discussed above.

Google+ Cheats and Commands

What Are Hangouts?

Hangouts allow video conferencing in a similar manner to Skype. Up to ten people at a time can take part in a hangout and the software displays the person who is talking in the main window, and other participants in smaller windows along the bottom of the screen.

Hangouts are being used in innovative ways, for instance one music business is giving live guitar classes on Google+hangouts. (link via @liamalexander)

Google+mobile: huddles

I have not tested Huddle yet, but would be interested hear about your experiences with this mobile product!