Google's new social media service

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Google's new social media service which launched in late June and has been opening up invitations at a steady clip since -- isn't Facebook, or Twitter, but it does some of the same things.

Google Plus, or G+, allows the user to follow people and post status updates, upload photos and video and get the latest news. And while experienced social media users will get a basic understanding of the similarities, there are several unique features to Google's new service. We've put together a list of some of these key unique features, to help the novice get started.


Privacy settings are the place to start. To find them, go to the top right hand corner while you’re in Google+, click on the drop down menu under your name and click on privacy. Go through the options, choose your options carefully.


Google + is designed to mimic real-life as much as possible, and one way is to let the user divide followers into "Circles". Like social divisions, followers can put people into groups - family, friends, co-workers, pet lovers, ex-lovers - and then select to see and share content either with individual circles, or with all your circles. For example, you can choose to post your family photos for just your family, or to make jokes to just your friends. Or, if you think of something clever, you can share it with everyone, or make it public. And don’t feel you have to stick to the Circles listed in the Google+ template. You can rename the existing Circles and add your own -- like ski buddies, soccer team, workplace, and your particular areas of interest. Some people may end up in more than one circle, like a friend who’s also in your tech circle. And, a caveat about circles: it seems like it's only a matter of time until something someone meant to share with friends only goes public. People should note that posts shared with only a very limited circle can become public as soon as someone in that circle "shares" it. In other words, the rule of not ever posting something you wouldn't want everyone to see still applies, circles be damned.


Hangouts are a place to, well, hangout. Invite your circles to get on their webcams and host a video chat about anything you like. Share them with any one person in your stream, or by circle, or create a public hangout.


Hit the Sparks tab and you'll be invited to "Find stuff you're interested in...". A compelling call to arms to be sure, but Sparks do let you keep up with the latest of the web in any category you desire.


Google rolled this service out earlier this year, an equivalent to Facebook's ubiquitous Like button, that can be used all over the web. Hitting +1 on search results, or within the Google + environment stores the content in your profile.

What's your favourite way to use Google+? Let us know below, and we'll continue to update this document as we get more into the Plus experience.

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Last modified on Sunday, 18 September 2011 10:02
Super User

Many folks involved in social media are so ADD driven to the latest social network, they fail to fully explore and make use of the networks that they are already part of.


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