- Internet & the Web
Google Plus Social Network
What is Google Plus?
Google Plus or Google+ is a social network launched on June 28, 2011, by none other than mighty Google. The initial launch was on an invite-only basis for a trial period in order to help test the platform before its public beta launch on September 20, 2011.
It is similar to Facebook in terms of online social networking with features that allow you to create a profile, upload pictures and videos, share website links, interact with friends through status updates and newsfeeds, etc. Though it is similar to Facebook, one of the major differences is the way "Friends" are configured from a privacy perspective which it achieves through "Circles".
Essentially, Google Plus Circles allow you to separate your network of Friends so that only that specific circle of contacts can see certain updates. Other G+ features include Hangouts, Communities, Instant Upload, Messenger, Pages which I will cover in more detail below. As it takes shape, another important aspect is that, it will integrate other Google services like Gmail, YouTube, Profiles, Buzz and others.
On this web page you will learn more about the G+ social network. You will also find a video overview explaining the key features of this social platform. Feel free to share your feedback and experience using Google+ in the comments section at the end of this webpage.
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Video Overview of Google Plus Social Network
Before we get into the details of the key features of Google Plus, take a quick peek at this short video overview of this social networking site. In the next section we will review these key individual G+ features in more detail.
Overview of Google Plus Features
Below you will find video overviews on various features of the Google Plus social network. These videos provide a brief overview of each of the individual features like Google Circles, Hangouts, Sparks, Huddle and Instant Upload:
Google Circles: is one of the key features of G+ which allows users to easily organize their Friends or Contacts in distinct groups called Circles. By separating contacts in different Circles, you can make sure that your status updates, pictures, newsfeeds are shared only with specific groups of people. For example, if you want to share an update only with family members instead of across all of your contacts, you can create a separate Circle for family members. In order to create a specific Circle, all you do is drag and drop specific contacts into that Circle.
Google Communities: is a feature that was introduced in December 2012. It allows users to create separate groups on specific topics which helps keep the topic on focus. For example, if you want to talk about hockey or food, or internet marketing or SEO, you can join these communities and engage with other individuals who are discussing the topics that interest you. You can create your own Google+ community and invite interested people to join in. Communities can be public or private.
Google Hangouts: provides a face-to-face video chat feature enabling specific friends across Circles or entire Circles, to connect instantly. Currently, only ten friends can participate in a Hangout at a given time. In order to connect with friends using Hangouts, click the green button called "Start a Hangout" and invite the recipients. Please note that you will require a webcam in order use this video chat feature, however, you can use the instant messaging feature as well.
Google Events: is a feature that allows users to create online or offline events. You can create G+ events and then invite people to attend whether it's to celebrate someone's birthday or a meeting. During events users can share pictures and videos in real-time. Events is linked to Google Calendar which is a great tool if you manage your calendar online.
Google Messenger & Instant Upload: are both Android and iPhone features. Messenger, formerly called Huddle, enables real-time group instant message chats rather than texting individually within your Circles. Instant Upload is specific to Android smart phones allowing pictures and videos to be stored in a private album to be shared later with your Circles.
Streams in G+ is a feature that easily allows you sort and check status updates and newsfeeds of your particular G+ Circles. As Google enhances this social networking site, they will be integrating other existing services like Gmail, YouTube, Profiles and others. Check the videos below.
Video Overview of Google Plus Features
Google+ Social Network Games Retired
On August 11, 2011, Google announced, on their official blog, that they were introducing Google+ games. It was rolled out in phases, therefore, in the beginning not everyone had access to G+ games as it was being tested.
Users had control over what games they play and how they choose to share them and have it appear on their social activity stream. Also, they had made it available to developers who were interested in building games on the G+ social network.
However, in May 2013, the company announced that they will be retiring G+ games effective June 30, 2013. Some of the games were migrated to alternate websites. For those users who has unused balances for their games, they were allowed to use them on the alternate platforms.
Google Plus Android & iPhone Apps
Below is a video overview of how the Google Plus Android App works including using Huddle & Instant Upload to simplify staying connected with your Circles. The Google+ iPhone App was finally approved and released on July 19, 2011.
Google Plus Step-by-Step Guide
If you're new to the Google+ social network, you may find is overwhelming. To help you navigate through this social platform and set up your profile, I've created a Google+ Beginner's Guide. In this Google Plus Guide, you will learn how to set up your profile, configure your privacy settings, manage Google+ Circles, change your notification settings, and much more.
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