I just started using Google’s new social platform Google+. This new platform is so fun to use, and I wanted to share what I've learned with you all.
So without further ado, here are some key features and directions for this new social network. If you want to set up your profile . . .
Create Your Circles
You'll see five icons on the top navigation--Home, Photos, Profile, Circles and Games. If you click on "Circles," all your contacts in Gmail are listed in a panel on top of the screen, and the “groups” Google has created for you are listed below. You can delete any of them and create your own. One advantage is you can see the streams for each group individually.
To add a contact to a circle, drag from the top of the list to the appropriate group. Contacts can be added to multiple circles.
Now that you've set up your circles, head back to the Home page. Below your profile picture, you'll see several choices for streaming. You can view your entire stream at once (like Facebook) or by particular circle--the choice is yours!
Incoming and Notifications
Clicking "Incoming" brings you to messages sent by people outside your circles.
Notifications shows you when people in your circles have commented on something you posted, or something you commented on.
Find it in the left-hand, bottom portion of the screen. You can use the chat for specific circles.
All the familiar status update functions are present--photos, links, video and location--but when you hit “share” it doesn’t automatically post your message to everybody in your circles. You have the option to decide which circles your update is posted to. This allows for more privacy.
One cool feature Google+ offers is called "bumping." Conversations move back to the top of your feed when comments are made on a thread. Every time a comment is made, that thread comes back to the top of the stream. This is great for ongoing conversations.
It took me awhile to figure this out. I kept trying to add a photo to my stream and kept failing. First, you have to go to your profile and click on "photos." Click "upload new photos." Set up an album and name it. Now when you start a new message in your stream, you will be able to add a photo to that message.
Hangouts is an area where your circles or a group of friends can video chat all on one screen. To start a Hangout, go to the “Welcome” button in the home tab. It will prompt you to start a Hangout and invite individuals or entire circles. Up to 10 people can be in a Hangout at once, and it will be seen in that circle or user's stream.
For more information on Google+ there is a good guide on Mashable.