From My WorkMy Work

What is Google Plus

What is Google+ – Google Plus?

Google+ is search giant Google’s answer to social networking and competes directly with Facebook.

Google Plus, Google+, is the search engine giant’s version of a social networking site and one of the top 3 social networking web sites you should set up an account for, that allows members to create a profile, upload pictures, share links and them recommend to the world and friends or a circle of friends using a g+1 button.
Sound familiar? We’ll it should because it is Google’s version of what Facebook does.

Google says it has 400 Million members of which about 100 Million are active users, compared to Facebook’s 955 Million active users, so Google has some way to go but will Google Plus become the new way we interact socially online?

If you are asking yourself:

Why should I have a Google+ account if I already have Facebook?

take a look at that article from Thinking IT, for now let’s just assume you want too and if you are serious about seo, you should because a Google Plus account will link you via Google Authorship as the author of the content you write on a website!

5 steps to setting up your Google Plus page.

  1. Create a Google Plus account

    Once set up and logged in (cookies must be disabled if on) you ‘introduce’ yourself by building a profile.
    You can add a square profile picture; which will end up 250px x 250px in size by uploading an image from your computer which can be cropped to the required size. You then upload a ‘cover photo’ which will end up at 940px x 180px.
    Note: creating images on your computer may be easier so you can upload them already in the right proportions.

  2. Create a Profile

    Next you can add some details about yourself that are linked to your profile picture such as employment, school history and where you live. Your profile has; at the moment anyway a list of titles allowing you to enter information about you next to them. They are:

    • Tagline: a brief description of you.
    • Introduction: where you can put a personalised statement about who you are so people know they have found the right ‘you’.
    • Bragging rights: it’s more personalised information on achievements; what you have done.
    • Occupation: where you currently work and job title.
    • Education: where you went to school, University etc.
    • Places lived: a history of places you have lived.
    • Home: how people can reach you at home.
    • Work: how people can reach you at work.
    • Relationship: your relationship status.
    • Looking for: is where you add the relationships you are seeking.
    • Gender: male/female.
    • Other names: this can be ‘nicknames’ maiden names or alternative spellings.
    • Profile discovery: if your profile is discoverable in search.
    • Other Profiles: these are other pages that are about you, or associated with you.

    A note on ‘Privacy’: Google allows you to control what visitors see by allowing you to select whether each piece of information is viewed publicly, for everyone to see or just within your ‘circle’ of friends, family, acquaintances, extended circles (friends of friends) and who you are following.

    What are ‘Circles’: This is the network you build up. You decide where to place people within your network of circles and what they each see. You can add circles, giving them a title, such as a sporting club you belong to and you can decide how these circles interact with each other.

  3. Add People to Your Circles.

    The next step is to add some people to follow. Google wants you to add at least 10 to start with. You can search who has a Google+ account from your email contacts list or search their name, the school you went to, your work, in fact by any criteria. When you find people you can either add them to an existing circle or add a new circle then drag and drop them into it.
    After you have added people to a circle you should send them a message, letting them know you have added them to your circle and want to follow them; hoping they do the same. This is one way to build up a number of Google Plus friends.

  4. Follow Interesting People or Groups.

    Following interesting people is what Google says are worth following; because they are already popular and come in a wide variety of categories such as sports and sporting celebrities, musicians, writers etc.

  5. Sharing with Others.

    Share what you like with others. Whether you are uploading a photo, sharing a link to an interesting article on a web page or just sending a message out with your thoughts, you can decide who sees it by selecting the circle or by creating a new circle.

    Sharing is about notifying people you have posted something you would like selected people or everyone to see. Google Plus was built to share stuff with the concept that people come to visit your page often.

There are videos on setting up your Google Plus account, which can be found at http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/ but are very brief and skip over many settings and functionality. I also found the background music to be annoying and were obviously set up by Google’s advertising department as promotional pieces.
There is also a help area for Google Plus at: http://support.google.com/plus/?hl=en with more details but again with very brief videos and more annoying music.

There is a fair bit to set up but I found it quite easy to do for the first time and like anything it does become easier as you play around with it more.

Not surprising; if you are a programmer, looking at creating something this large and with this amount of functionality, there are still a few bugs Google need to iron out. One in particular is when you remove someone from your circles their posts remain in your stream and some functionality such as not being able to comment on an existing comment; called nested comments is not possible at this time but I am sure this will be available at some point in the near future.

No doubt as the search giant starts to impact on the social networking giant Facebook for the same space, you will see both add more and more features and functionality to attract and keep you using them because I don’t think people will use both;
After all there is only so much time we can spend with virtual friends instead of doing it the old-fashion way and actually being with your friends.

If you have a business website and want more people to see it, then it would be worth investigating the top 10 social networking sites to see how you can take advantage of the huge number of registered users they have; which could be potential customers too!

About Nigel Brookson

Website Designer, Philanthropist, Entrepreneur. Environmentalist. Follow me on
Twitter, plus me on Google+, like me on Facebook, visit me at Thinking IT.

What people have said:

  1. Thanks for the very informative article. I found it easy to set up my Google Plus page with the 5 steps you outlined above.

  2. It is worth noting that Google reached 100 Million active users within twelve months, while it took Facebook several years to achieve this. Google’s intergration with all of their other products is I think the key to having people use Google Plus as their social networking website.

Comment Policy:
Your comments are valuable to us but will only be posted if you use your real name, email address & are relevant to the article. If made soley for back linking purposes – they will not be published!

What’s your opinion about what I wrote? Have your say here:

*