Google Plus: The Basics

Google tossed its hat into the social networking ring with its launch of Google Plus. A power-play against social networking behemoth, Facebook, Google Plus has staked it’s claim as a tailored broadcasting system, free of apps and games and ads (so far).

Google-Plus-Social-Network

Google Plus is not to be confused with the Google +1 button, which is comparable to other popular social media votes, including the Facebook “Like” and Twitter retweet.

Google-Plus-1-button

Google Plus Circles

Google Plus, as an invitation-only platform, added a record-setting 20 million users in just a few weeks’ time. Google Plus connections are made when 1 user places another into a “circle”. You can have several circles, and can place the same person in more than 1 circle if you choose.

Google-Plus-CircleThe purpose of the circles – and how Google Plus is setting itself apart from Facebook and Twitter – is that only the people in a specific circle can see the updates you post in that circle.

Think of it as a segmented Facebook feed.

So if you have a message you want to post that is only applicable to your Family or Co-workers or College Friends, only that specific group of people will see that specific update.

An important note about the circles: A person you add to a circle does not see the circle they’ve been added to. 

This is an important mention because some heavy social media users are hoping that Google+ can help them to broaden their reach, even though Google Plus is designed to do the opposite. If you add someone to a circle and they – as a courtesy – add you to one of their circles, too, you have no way of knowing *what* circle they put you in. Google Plus makes it very easy to courteously “follow back” another user by placing them in a circle you never intend to visit nor post in.

This, clearly, is not the intention of this social platform. But heavy social media users need to be aware that measuring your true social reach is very difficult with Google Plus as compared to Facebook fan pages or Twitter followers.

Google Plus Stream

Much like your Facebook “wall”, Google Plus has a “stream”. This stream contains updates of those you are connected with and allows you to post an update – including a photo, video or link – as well. You also have the ability to comment on, share or +1 others’ posts.

Google-Plus-Stream

You can choose to tailor your stream by selecting one or more of your circles in the left sidebar.

Google-Plus-Stream-Circle

When posting a new update for yourself, you are given the option to select which circles see that update.

Google-Plus-Stream-Update

Google Plus Profile

If you had a Google Profile prior to the launch of Google Plus, it is now integrated under the “Profile” button.

Google-Plus-ProfileThe Profile page includes your posts and a list & count of people who have circled you and who you have circled. You can see videos and photos that you have shared, your +1-ed articles as well as your About. Your About is where your former Google Profile is located. It is somewhat updated in look over the former Google Profile pages, but otherwise the same.

Google-Plus-About

Google Plus also has a video chat feature called “Hangout”. You are prompted to download a plugin when initiating the Hangout feature for the first time. An advantage to a Hangout over Skype is the number of people who can take part in a Hangout for free. The downside, however, is that anyone in your circles can jump into your Hangout at any time.

What do you think of Google Plus? Do you think it will replace a different social media platform you are currently using?

10 Comments

  1. angela

    I have an account, but I haven’t done much with it yet. I am interested to read your other posts about it. I don’t know if it’s going to work for me yet or not (either personally or blog-related). Many of my IRL friends aren’t on it, so that limits things.

    Reply
    • admin

      I can see that. If you are a heavy social media user, and your IRL friends are not on Google+, there’s not much need for you to use it when you already connect with “virtual” friends on Twitter, Facebook or blogs.

      Reply
  2. Steph

    Honestly, until I have more people in different circles I am not sure how I will like Google+.

    I also haven’t played with it nearly as much as I should 🙂

    Reply
  3. Alison@Mama Wants This

    I haven’t spent much time on Google+ yet, but the one thing that sort of freaks me out is that it seems anyone can add me to their circles, even if they’re complete strangers. I’m not sure I’ll get into it – just yet.

    Reply
    • admin

      Yes, that’s very true. I have been getting “circled” by people who aren’t even remotely connected to me. At least with Facebook, no one can connect with you without your approval.

      Reply
      • Elizabeth Flora Ross

        Those people can only see your posts if you circle them back and/or post publicly. You have the ability to only post to your circles, which means no one not in them can view.

        Reply
  4. Elizabeth Flora Ross

    I have been on Google+ a lot, and I like it. I don’t see much need for me to use it personally, as I’m connected to all the same people as on other sites. But as a writer I am finding it to be a great place for making connections and finding resources.

    Also, I have connected with a brand new audience for The Mom Pledge, and that has been fantastic. In that respect I’m not using it much differently than other social media sites, but I am using it to expand the reach of our movement. With lots of success!

    Reply
  5. Glamamom

    I haven’t been invited yet 🙁

    Reply
  6. WorldsWorstMoms

    So far, I like the format. But honestly, I’m not looking forward to having yet another “thing” to tend to. And Glamamom, I’ll invite you! Email me if you want me to: worldsworstmoms@gmail.com

    Reply
  7. Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud

    I’m still making my way around Google+ and I’m having a blast. What’s even more exciting than this super informative post is that my mug is featured in one of your graphics. 😉
    Stumbled this…

    Reply

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  1. Adding Instagram Photos to your Google Plus Album | Picassa - [...] Alli Worthington put together a great tutorial over at Babble’s Mom Crunch, showing how to import your Instagram photos to an…

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