advice The Top Google Plus Tips and Tricks  

83k views 18 items Follow Embed
Google Plus (or Google+), the search giant's 2011 foray into social networking, got off to a fairly impressive start, adding so many new users in its early days that the company had to shut down its invitation system.

Once it stabilized, though, early users started to pour in and enjoy the company's slightly different take on social media. Though many of the features of Google+ have already been featured elsewhere - on sites like Twitter, Facebook, even Myspace - there are some innovations here and there as well. Most immediate is the introduction of Circles, a sort of mandatory, built-in groups system forcing you to put friends and acquaintances into categories rather than sharing with individuals or the general public exclusively.

As well, Plus introduces a variety of ways to chat live with friends, including the addition of Google Chat already available in Gmail and the concept of "Hangouts," which allows up to 10 people within a circle to video chat live on the system.

Google Plus launched with an Android app ready to go, and iPad and iPhone apps will follow in the weeks ahead.

This list includes some basic "getting started" information for people new to Google Plus, and also some tips, tricks and suggestions for those with a bit more experience using the system. Have additional tricks we didn't think of? Leave them in the comments below!


Adding People to Circles

Circles are the way that Google Plus keeps track of the people you want to follow. When you put someone in a circle, it means two things:

(1) Their updates will now appear in your stream. The default setting on your stream is to see everyone's updates, but you can also choose to just see updates from the people in a particular circle by clicking the name of that circle in the left-hand column.

(2) They can see your posts and updates, provided you chose to share those updates with a circle that includes them.

Bear in mind, a person doesn't need to have you in a circle in order for you to add them to one. They can choose not to see updates from you while still allowing you to see their posts.

Green Means Public, Blue Means Limited

When a post is marked "Public," that means anyone can see it, even people you have never added to any circles. The word "Public" on these posts appears in bright green so it's easy to spot. (Green means Go Out to the Whole World!) If you have decided to only share the post with certain circles, their names will appear underneath the post in blue.

Add Photos, Videos and Links Easily

To add media or links into your Google Plus stream, you can click the photo, video and link buttons like any normal person. OR, you can just find the link or the photo or video you want to post and drag it right into the Share box.

Use Keyboard Shortcuts to Save Time

Here's a quick rundown of some of the quick keys built in to Google Plus:

Space = Scroll down
Shift and Space = Scroll up
J = scroll down one post
K = scroll up one post
Q = jump directly to chat
Return = Start Comment
Tab and Return = End Comment

When reading any post, just hit Enter to automatically open up the comment box. That ought to save you a few seconds!

Mentioning Specific People

If you want to shoutout someone by name and make sure they see it, you can tag them easily. Just add a "+" or "@" in front of their name and Google Plus will prompt you to tag them. This will alert the person you have tagged that someone has mentioned them, and it will allow anyone who sees the post to hover over their name to get profile details, or add them to a circle.

Send Direct Messages

Google Plus doesn't come with a built-in direct message tool like, say, Twitter, but it's easy enough to make a message private between just you and one other person.

First, start writing a post as you ordinarily would, and just share it with the one person you want to message. Click "Share." Once you have shared the message with that one person, go to the menu on the upper right hand corner of the post and select the "Disable Reshare" option. Now, that person who received your message can't send it to anyone else. BOOM, instant direct message.

Find a Permalink for Any Post

Want to bookmark a specific Google Plus post for later, or just see a whole page of a post and all its comments? Just click on the time stamp on any post. It will take you to a permalink of just that single thread.

How +1's Work

When you're surfing around the Web, you'll see +1 buttons next to a lot of different types of content. Clicking these when you're NOT on Google Plus will cause the links to show up in your stream as shared content. So if you're reading a great blog post and want to share it with your followers, click the +1 button freely.

When you are actually on Google Plus, however, and looking through your friends' shared content, clicking the +1 works differently. It displays underneath that post that you have +1'ed it, and the person who made the post will see it. But it does not add that posted item to your own stream, or send it out to your followers.

You can share things you find on Google Plus with your followers or individual circles, but for that, you have the click the Share button, not +1.