Get started with Google+

Get started with Google+


Get started with Google+

12.7.2011


Developed under the codename Emerald Sea, Google+ is basically Google's latest attempt at creating its own social network.

Standing next to their already dynamic portfolio, Google+ is geared toward demonstrating, sharing, and exchanging information with people. This project has been Google’s aim to ‘fix’ the present online sharing which, according to them, is 'broken'.

Unlike their previous failed attempts at social networking, namely, Google Wave and Google Buzz, the Google+ project is expected to make a success and has instantly generated the interest of people around the globe. The Google+1 feature is very similar to the Like button in Facebook, and it has already been implemented across search engine results pages and websites worldwide.
 
Similar to Facebook, people can also add profile pictures and personal details. The central web page displays the updated stream of comments and things posted by members in the Circles, resembling the News Feed in Facebook.

How to get started with Google+


Private invitations are recently being sent at random for preliminary use of this new feature. Users do not have to sign into different services at a time to share photos and any other personal updates with their friends, as all the information and functions from Picasa, Gmail and Google Maps will be integrated into the Google+ experience.
 
This is how it is broken down:
1. Circles
2. Sparks
3. Hangouts
4. Huddles

1. Circles

As the name suggests, circles denotes the grouping, in this case, of your friends. You can put your friends into different circles according to topic, for example: Family, Friends, Colleagues, University Buddies, Clients, and so on.
From your Circles page, all you need to do is to drag and drop your contacts into one of these groups, hence making it firmly easier to share the stuff that you want with others.

2. Sparks
An interesting name for a Content Finder, which, as explained by a Google+ promo ad, ‘is like somebody finding articles you like and sending information your way’. This would in turn serve as a stimulant for conversations, whilst it also serves to keep track of the things you care about, helping you to connect online.
Each topic (football, languages, computers, and so on) will get its own ‘Spark’ page, where it will provide you with useful links and related articles, photos, videos, and more.

3. Hangouts
Hangouts are mainly virtual rooms where you can video chat with people in your circles. If you and your friends have some spare time on your hands, or you would need to discuss an assignment, or a work project, then you can easily start a video call and chat with them.

4. Huddles
Huddles is none other than instant group messaging, with people within your Circles. There is also a mobile application available for Android which lets you send messages from your phone. By selecting your group, you can have a chat with your friends at any part of the day.

Google+ is notably also on Android, which will let you do all the above on your phone.

Google+ for businesses
Although it is very similar to Facebook, and much debate has been issued with regard to the originality of it all, Google+ can serve as a prominent tool for businesses.

The idea of ‘social sharing’ brings with it higher traffic and hopefully, a considerable increase of sales (or a higher turn-over). The higher the traffic, the more marketable your website is. Google Social Network +1 is meant to enhance the searching experience which is also social and marketable. Research shows that 2/3 of the search engine use Google to retrieve their information or for browsing.

Although many argue that through this feature, Google will dominate e-Commerce, thus remaining as the greatest titan in the Internet market, the Google+ founders claim that the development of this new ‘project’ (not product) was essentially driven by hopes of connecting people, making the ‘sharing of the web’ principle as a social gift, which can ultimately make its way to people in real life. Google is hence integrating the social with research. A lot of people can share and exchange information with one another, whereby a lot of interesting staff is yet to be unveiled.

If Google+ is not enough…there’s Google +1

On Facebook, the Like button allows users to share their content with friends. This will appear in the News Feed and on the users’ profile pages. When the user clicks the Like button on your website (for example), a ‘story’ appears in the users’ friends’ News Feed with a link back your website.

Similarly, Google+ search results will have a +1 button next to them which means that your recommendations to your friends aren’t limited to actual web pages. Every time you click +1 on a web page, the page is stored in a new tab on your Google profile. You can then make your +1's tab public, or keep it more private and use it to personally manage and to keep track of the things you love when browsing online.

The sites or search results that you recommend will be visible to any contacts in your Google network. You can then look on your profile to see your list of contacts. You can include contacts from Google Talk, Reader, Blogger, as well as You Tube (and later on possibly even Twitter). As it is still in its infancy, there will undeniably be more features added in the near future. There is talk that the +1 button may be influencing Google Page Rank…we will find out more about this in due time!

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