Google+ – The New Social Network

July 19, 2011, By Christian Cawley

If you have been getting a little bored with Facebook and the endless stream of news updates concerning the online games your friends have been playing, there could be an alternative for you in Google+, the new social network from Google which offers an easy way to group your contacts based on your relationship with them.

With a stream page listing yours and your friends’ recent updates, a photos page, a profile and a great way of managing your friends into different networks, Google+ is being touted as an alternative not only to Facebook but to LinkedIn also.

Currently, membership is by invitation only, but if you have been invited and haven’t yet checked out this new service, you could be missing out. Let’s take a look at how to get started with Google+.

Google+ - The New Social Network

Using Your Stream

Much as you might have a wall in Facebook where you can post links and thoughts and photos and video clips, Google+ offers you a stream, a place where you can share what’s new with your contacts and check their latest updates as well.

With the simple invitation to Share what’s new, Google+ hopes to be able to share your recent thoughts and ideas with the world, which it does with some style, particularly any images you have uploaded.

One key way in which Google+ wants you to use your stream is via the new +1 buttons that can be seen in Google search results. By clicking any of these they will be added to your wall for people to see, click and even comment on. You might also start to find more websites with a +1 button displayed alongside the usual Twitter, Facebook and Digg buttons.

Editing Your Profile

With an invite to Google+ you get the opportunity to setup and edit a profile, which can include a photo, an introduction, details about your occupation, where you live, education, etc., and any useful links that you might like to share, perhaps to a home page.

You can also activate an email tool linked to your profile which allows people to email you (without seeing your email address) when they visit your profile, and a list of your current contacts is displayed at all times so that you can keep track of things.

Adding Friends

Whether you have friends on Google+ already or you have invited some of your own (something that can be done via the Send invites link on the Home page) you will need to sort them out into relevant groups.

This is possibly the main strength of Google+, the simplicity with which contacts can be added to Circles, and you can get started with this by selecting the relevant menu item. With your friends listed, all you need to do is drag them into one of the pre-defined circles (friends, family, acquaintances, etc.) or create your own custom circles.

When you first start with Google+ you might feel that it is a little empty, but it shouldn’t be too long before you find that friends start using the service. Within a few days, Google+ will start looking pretty good!

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