- Internet & the Web
Understanding Google Plus Circles
What are Google Plus Circles?
Google Plus is a social network launched by Google on June 28, 2011. It garnered tremendous amount of support during the beta testing phase and was finally released to the general public on September 20, 2011.
Yes, it's another social network like Facebook, however, it has features that are unique to Google+ which makes it different. One of the distinct features that is at the heart of G+ is Google Circles allowing users to create cliques or groups that enable sharing information only to people in those specific circles.
G+ Circles have caused a bit of confusion in terms of how they work and how best to use them. Most users love this unique feature, whereas, some think it's not a big deal. On this web page, you will learn about Google+ Circles, how they work, how to create them, how to effectively manage your G+ Circles and more.
Poll: Google Plus Circles
Do You Understand How Google+ Circles Work?
An Overview of Google+ Circles
Video Tutorial on Understanding Google Plus Circles
Below is a video overview of Google+ Circles which explains what they are, how to create Google Circles and how to use them effectively in Google Plus. Essentially, G+ Circles are one of the unique features of this social network.
They provide an effective way to organize friends and people in your social network into specific cliques or groups. By organizing your contacts into Google+ Circles, you can share your social updates and information with that distinct group of people rather than everyone in your social network.
For example, if you have a G+ Circle called Family and you want to share pictures of your birthday with only your family members, then G+ Circles allow you to achieve just that rather than sharing the update with everyone in your social network. Check the video below to learn more about Google+ Circles.
Video Overview of Google+ Circles
Privacy Settings for Google+ Circles
How to Setup Privacy Settings for Google+ Circles?
Before you start sharing your updates and/or information on Google+ you should understand the privacy settings. In order to ensure that your updates are shared correctly to your G+ Circles, you need to configure your privacy settings. The privacy settings in Google+ allow you to decide whether you want to share your profile publicly or choose to keep it private. Also, you can control whether your G+ profile shows up in search engines results by changing the settings.
You can change the privacy settings so other people in your Circles cannot see which Circles you belong to. As well as, change the settings to decide which people in your G+ Circles appear on your profile. Check the video tutorial below which shows you how to setup and change your privacy settings in Google+.
Video Tutorial: Managing Google+ Privacy Settings
Understanding the Advantages & Drawbacks of Google+ Circles
When sharing posts or updates on Google+ you can decide which Circles (or people in your Circles) are able to see them. Here are the key options available:
- Public: visible to anyone who can view your public profile;
- Your Circles: visible to everyone in your Circles;
- Extended Circles: visible to everyone in your & their Circles.
Of course, if you've created your own Circles or use the default Circles already available like Family, Friends, Acquaintances, etc. when you choose these specific Circles, only people in those Circles will see your posts and updates.
Now that you understand the basics of how Circles work and how to share your content with people in your Google+ Circles, let's review some of the pros and cons of G+ Circles so you can use this information to effectively manage your Circles.
Pros and Cons of Google Plus Circles
Advantages of Google+ Circles: One of the biggest advantages of Google+ Circles is that you can create distinct groups of people in your social network so as to allow you to share specific updates or information with only those people rather than your entire social network.
This a great feature because if you want to share updates with your co-workers, but don't want to bother your family with those updates, you can set up a specific G+ Circle for your co-workers.
Another benefit of Google+ Circles is that if you want to look at updates from your family members in your social network, you can choose that particular G+ Circle which will display updates from your family members rather than having to sift through a whole bunch of updates from your entire network.
Google+ Circles allow people, you don't know, to follow you, but you don't need to add them to your Circles. People who follow you will only see updates and information that you have shared publicly. This is similar to Twitter, but unlike Facebook. Creating Circles is easy, as well as, moving people from one Circle to another by using the drag and drop functionality . Also, you can have the same person in multiple Circles, if you choose to.
Potential Drawbacks of Google+ Circles: Though G+ Circles have some great advantages, there are some aspects that you need to be aware of, in terms of privacy, before starting to use the social network. When you share a post or update, G+ automatically defaults the last Circle(s) it was shared with, therefore, you need to check this before publishing a new update to your Circles. If not, you may end up sending an update to a Circle you didn't intend to.
If you share updates to a specific Circle, anyone in that Circle can re-share your update with other people in their Circles, Extended Circles (friends of friends) or even publicly. However, if you'd like to disable re-sharing of your post, you can do so by using the drop-down arrow on the top-right of the particular post.
Currently, Google+ allows a maximum of 5,000 people in all Circles, but this may change given that G+ is evolving regularly with enhancements. Since launching back in June 2011, Google+ has already gone through some changes.
Google+ Beginner's Guide
If you're new to Google Plus social network and would like help with setting up your account, you can check my Google+ Beginner's Guide which will help you setup your Google+ account. In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to set up your Google Plus profile, configure your privacy settings, manage G+notifications, add and delete people from your G+ Circles, connect with other people on the social network, manage your photos and videos, and much more.
Share your thoughts on Google+ Circles