Google+, Google’s top-secret social media platform is now open to everyone and it is aiming to turn Google’s massive search engine into one awesome social network. Previously, Google has tried this with Google Buzz and Google Wave, but those platforms failed miserably. Google has invested quite a lot of resources and time to ensure their latest product “+” will not suffer the same fate as Wave and Buzz.

Google+ started out a few weeks ago on an “invitation only basis” with a set of features that already made a buzz on the social media universe. Find a list of features below with more information than my previous post about Google Plus – My thoughts on Google Plus.

Find some information below that will help you get started on Google+


This is the activity stream and it’s the first thing you will see when you log in for the first time on Google+. This is very similar to the “News Feed” of Facebook and almost everything centres around the stream on Google+.  On the stream all your info, links, videos, photos and updates from you and your “circles”  are rounded up and constantly updated.


Google+ Circles allows you to create and setup categories of people you follow on Google+.  It’s very easy to create Circles and this is most likely my favourite feature on the network.  It works very similar to the way you create “Lists” on Twitter so Circles will help you create order around all the noise.

You can create different kinds of Circles such as a circle for friends, co-workers, family, acquaintances, classmates, and it works with a drag and drop interface where you can control all your circles.  This is a great feature as you can choose who you will be sharing your updates with.


With the “Hangouts” feature you can chat and video chat with up to 10 people.  When you start a Hangout, other people will be alerted in your Circles that you have started a Hangout and they can choose to join the chat. When you are in a Hangout, there isn’t a chat window on the screen for every person part of the Hangout.  The chat screen is changed to whoever is currently talking by switching from video feed to video feed, moving faster in bigger “Hangouts”.  Only 10 people are allowed in a Hangup at one point, but users can get on a waiting list and added to the Hangout as soon as someone leave.


To explain this in one sentence – “Sparks is an online sharing engine”. Sparks helps you find interesting content (photos, articles, videos) grouped by interested. For example the “Business” spark will have a listing of relevant and recent content for the “Business” topic.  The Spark system relies on information from other Google products (Google Search) and what is being shared on Google+ and throughout the web with +1 buttons.


The “Huddle” option on Google+ allows multiple users to have a conversation with one another.  It is very similar to “Circles”  allowing everyone to chat with one another.


With Photos on Google+, you can quickly view your friend’s images and add comments.  This also includes an image editor (similar to Instagram photo effects) and various sharing features.  Uploading photos is quite fast and easy.


Google has launched a Google+ app for Android and the iPhone/iPad will launch soon.  These mobile apps includes access to the activity Stream, multimedia, Sparks and Circles.  You can also visit the “mobile” optimized site of Google+ if you do not want to install the app on your mobile device.


Google+ has many security options to protect your profile and your sharing on the network.  These options allow you to choose which Circles you want to share updates with and it allows you to stop people from commenting on anything you have shared.  You can also block people from re sharing your updates with their own Circles.

Google+ is packed with many interesting and exciting features but it’s going to take a while for people to catch up on all the features. Only time will tell if Google+ will be the success that they are aiming for this network.

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