Getting to know Google Plus

google_plusAt the end of my last post Google+ & Social Media Fatigue, I said that this week I would be taking some time to learn Google+. One afternoon I met two friends and together we explored Google+. Social learning makes it easier to figure out how to use a new platform. We sat together each with our own laptop exploring and sharing what we discovered.

Today I’ll share with you what I’ve learned so far.

google_plus-settingsFirst off you’ll want to check your Google+ Privacy settings. Click your name in the navigation bar at the top of the Google+ pages and selecting “Privacy” from the sub-menu that appears. You can click on each item in your profile and choose who can see it. If you see a little globe icon next to an item it means it is visible to “anyone on the web” if you see a circle icon that item is only visible to those in your circles.

You can allow people to email you from a link on your profile by clicking the send an email button below your photo, again, choose the visibility level for this option.

With Facebook if you want to keep your personal and your business separate you need to create a business page so you in effect have two profiles to manage. Google Plus is based on the idea of circles. It is very easy to create separate circles for areas of your life. You can then choose to share and view content to and from explicitly identified circles, and no one else.

With Twitter you can send Direct Messages to one specific person. Twitter doesn’t allow you to send a DM to more than one person at a time, with the Google+ equivalent you can. All you need to do is start creating a post in your stream and make sure that only the person or persons you want to receive the message are listed where you would normally specify “Public” or a given “circle”.

With G+ you can mention or tag a user using +username. You can continue to use the @username that you are familiar with from Twitter and it will convert it for you to +username.

At the top of each post to the right of the time stamp are the sharing details. You can see the visibility level for the post:

  • Public – Visible to anyone (public on the web).
  • Extended Circles – Visible to everyone in your circles, plus all the people in their circles.
  • Limited – Visible to those in a specific circle or named in the post

To help you when you are sharing your post visibility levels are colour-coded, GREEN is PUBLIC and BLUE is LIMITED.

You’ve probably seen the +1 buttons in Google searches and starting to appear on websites. +1’s are the Google+ equivalent of the Facebook LIKE. In order to +1 things, you first need a public Google profile. Your +1’s are stored in a new tab on your Google profile and are not fed into your Google+ stream. You can show your +1’s tab to the world, or keep it private and just use it as a personal bookmarking tool. The number of +1’s a post receives are shown in the Google+ stream. If you mouse over the +1 icon you can see thumbnails of who gave it a +1.

Google Plus also gives us:

  • SPARKS which is a way to follow a specific search term, like following a Twitter hash tag.
  • HUDDLE which is a group text chat for your phone
  • HANGOUT with is group video chat. Skype group video calling is currently only available if at least one person on the call has purchased Skype Premium. With Google+ it is now free.

What do you think of Google+? Please add your comments. You may also be interested in reading +1 and its effect on SEO.

2 thoughts on “Getting to know Google Plus

  1. You’ve added some extra features about Google+ that I haven’t yet explored. Thanks for giving me some more experiments. I am really enjoying Google+ so far and can see all kinds of possibilities for the future.

  2. Exploring Google+ allows me to see Twitter and Facebook differently; the contrasts are interesting. Discussing aspects with friends all playing with Google+ at the same time and same place is a great way to learn about it faster.

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