Google+, What’s the fuss?

first_imgIf you are interested in learning a bit more about Google+, join +Kevin Gamble and +Stephen Judd for a free eXtension webinar on Friday December 2, 2011 at 2 PM EST.Launched less than six months ago (June 28, 2011), Google+ is a social networking service provided by Google, Inc. As a social network, Google+ shares traits (ability to share updates, links, photos, and videos) with other large social networks like Twitter and Facebook.I began using Google+ when it first became available in a field-trial status, and have been impressed with its ease of use and the level of interaction among the users. Because users can comment on posted content, there isn’t a length constraint, and comments remain with their original post, conversations are easier to have than they are on Twitter. I’ve also found the ability to share to limited groups easier to use than similar features in Facebook.With the recent advent of Pages in Google+, businesses and organizations can also interact with other Google+ users. I’m holding off on fully endorsing the use of a Google+ page, until features like multiple administrators are made available.Below is some basic information about Google+ and how it works:Your Profile:At the core of Google+ is your personal profile, information you enter about yourself and can include: an Introduction, occupation, employment history, education, places you’ve lived, contact information, demographic information, photos, and related links. There are privacy settings to control which information is visible publicly, versus visible to people you connect to on the service.The Network:The usefulness of Google+ will depend on who is using Google+ among the folks you want to interact with and on making those connections. When you first start using the service, you can search for people in your address book you may know are using Google+, or by searching by name or topic of interest. As you add people to your network, you place them in Circles, which later allow you to publish updates to selected Circles, or view updates from one Circle at a time.Following people is not strictly reciprocal:With Google+, you can follow an individual without them following you back, and vice versa. (This is in contrast to the way Facebook originally worked, where the process of “friending” someone, required the agreement of both parties. Facebook has since introduced the subscribe feature, which changes this dynamic.) However, you do have the ability to block a person, so he or she can’t comment on your posts and will only be able to see information you post publicly.Posting:You can publish content to Google+ through the web interface, mobile applications, Google Reader, or through +1 buttons on various websites. Unlike Twitter, there’s no character limit for Google+ updates, and they can include embedded photos, videos, and links. However, formatting options are limited to bold, italics, and strikethrough. When you publish content, you can choose the people to share that content with, by making it Public or sharing it only with selected individuals or Circles. The users you share a post with will have the ability to comment on or reshare the post, unless you have locked the post or disabled comments.Reading posts:By default, Google+ will display content that people you follow have posted. These posts may have been shared publicly, or shared with you directly or via a Circle the poster has you in. You will also see your own posts. You can comment on, reshare, or +1 these posts. You can filter this view by selecting to view the posts from an individual Circle instead.Other features:Google+ has several other features in addition to content-sharing:Hangouts (group video chat for up to ten participants) (I have found this to be one of the most useful tools on Google+ for enabling real-time collaboration with geographically dispersed groups)Messenger (group text chat for up to 50 people, available through mobile application)GamesSearch (ability to search–based on people and content–and save searches)Photos (share photos from Picasa, and instantly upload photos from mobile devices)Pages (a way for companies, organizations, brands, and other non-persons to share content and interact with other Google+ users)Overall, Google+ has become my preferred social network and I look forward to using it as it continues to change. Like any social network, it will benefit from wider adoption, so that I can find more interesting folks to interact with.If you are interested in learning a bit more about Google+, join me and +Kevin Gamble for a free eXtension webinar on Friday December 2, 2011 at 2 PM EST. Details are at: http://www.extension.org/learn/event/372More information:Google+ Help CenterWikipedia – Google+Author: Stephen Judd (+Stephen Judd, @sjudd) This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.last_img

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