Demystifying Google+: the search engine’s social side
Long gone are the days when Google was simply the expert in search. Now, the software giant has a firm hold on many other technological innovations, offering everything from the fascinating Google Sky (allowing you to look at celestial bodies) to the extremely practical Gmail email service.
Most of us use Google every day in one way or another, but you may have recently started noticing invites, articles and mentions of Google+. Understand this new, social offering from the king of search and see if it offers a new way for you to stay in touch with new and old friends.
What is Google+?
Most simply, Google+ is a communication tool designed to help people connect to friends, businesses and useful sources of information. It’s been around since 2011 and has slowly been working itself into a position where it can be considered a major player in the social networking field. With hundreds of millions of people already having accounts, it has the potential to draw people away from other popular sites, such as Friends Reunited and Facebook. Find out more about Google’s social side with Mashable’s simple beginner’s guide to Google+.
Another great place to find out more about Google+ is straight from the horse’s mouth – have a look at the social network’s ‘learn more’ section and find out how Google wants to help you stay in touch with more people online. For more information from an independent source, it’s also well worth checking out The Telegraph’s guide to getting started with Google+.
How to enjoy using Google+
From the outside, it can be quite hard to see exactly how you start engaging with and enjoying Google+. Many other social sites have a very specific and easy to recognise interface and brand but Google+ is necessarily similar to the other Google products. However, once you get started looking into the network, you’ll soon begin to see that it has a simple and easy way for you to get involved.
The biggest and most unique characteristic of Google+ is its circles. These are basically categories and allow you to invite friends to each specific section. So you might have a circle that’s made up of people and things to do with a hobby such as knitting while another circle is dedicated to old work colleagues. For Dummies has put together a good guide to circles and how to use them and Wire Buzz has a really interesting video interview with Google+ guru Chris Lang that could help you get a handle of the technology.
The best way to enjoy Google+ is to start finding friends on there as quickly as possible. For a few helpful hints when it comes to hunting out people you’d like to be in touch with, have a look at My Blogger Tricks’ article for attracting friends on Google+ and be sure to read Gizmodo’s great tips for becoming a Google+ master. As with all social networks, you really just have to give it a go and find out if it suits your style. Google+ may be tipped to be the next big thing, but that doesn’t mean it has to replace your favourite social sites.