On June 28, 2011 Google launched Google Plus, their latest attempt to establish a social network. In the first three weeks 10 million users have joined, according to CEO Larry Page and they’ve gained considerable traction and provided some really cool features for users. To help get you started in establishing your Google Plus account we’ll cover some of the basics: profiles, circles, sparks, and hangout. —Hajj Flemings
Start with establishing a Google account; if you already have an established Google profile within your account it will automatically be imported to Google Plus. You can add a descriptor or tagline that compliments your name and provides other users with more details about you. The profile section allows you to add a bio, links to your other social networks and other biographical information.
One of the defining features Google Plus has established to differentiate itself from Facebook is “circles.” In Facebook when you update your status it’s shared with your entire community. Circles allow users to communicate directly to a specific group within their Google Plus network. Think of circles as a Mini-Network within your network that allows you to speak to and engage directly with a smaller group of people. There’s a drag and drop feature that allows you to add people to a specific circle or network (i.e. family, friends, followers, gurus). You can also listen to the content stream of your circles.
If you are looking for content to discover or share, Google Plus has developed “sparks,” a recommendation search engine designed to help spark ideas and provide users with links to valuable content.
Hangout is a great feature that allows you to establish a video chat with up to 10 of your friends. You simply open up a chat window and establish a chat. Hangout can be a great small business tool where you can conduct free video meetings. You initiate hangout by clicking the “Start Hangout” button. Hangout also, has a group text feature and allows you to share and watch YouTube videos as a group.
Huddle is a group texting function that allows groups of people to send and receive group texts. It functions similarly to Beluga with no limit to the number of people that can participate.
Also, mobile apps for the iPhone and Android are available on Google Plus. Let us know what you think about Google Plus and how you plan to use this latest network.