Since its launch, Google+ has quickly gained traction as a social network to rival Facebook in popularity. Google+ offers a set of tools that allows users to accomplish many of their normal everyday tasks, such as sharing links and photos, chatting and sending email. Perhaps the biggest innovation that Google+ offers is the ability to control which individuals view specific information.
Getting started with Google+ is easy. Everyone moves through different social circles with which they share common interests. With Circles, Google+ users separate their contacts into different groups. Those social circles can be named to designate friends, family, roommates and co-workers with the appellation of the user’s choice. Comments and posts can be sent to specific groups instead of being on display for everyone to see.
Google+ also has a feature called Sparks for the topics, hobbies and subjects that peak users’ interest. Individuals can share and discuss information on different subjects with any of their Circles, from a favorite restaurant or play, to movies, musicians and books. Sparks acts much like a personal assistant to monitor all the new videos and articles available on the user’s favorite hobbies, interests and passions.
For those who want to bring groups of friends together, Google+ offers its Hangouts feature. Hangouts utilize live, multi-person video to connect members of specific Circles. Participants can chat or collaborate on projects, even if they’re located in different parts of the globe.
The Stream is perhaps the heart and soul of Google+, allowing users to add to the general stream of available information, including pictures, video links, text and even animated gif files. Conversations and information can be shared with everyone or a specific Circle.
Mobile communications within social networks is becoming more commonplace and Google+ provides users with the tools to give their exact location to the individuals with which they communicate in Circles. As part of the suite of mobile tools, users also have access to Instant Upload. Photo enthusiasts can take as many pictures and videos as they want with their mobile device and simply upload them to the cloud. Photos can be viewed from any computer and shared within a Circle.
The Huddle feature on Google+ simplifies communications with family and friends. Multiple Circles can be brought into a real-time conversation to plan reunions, outings and other activities. Huddle eliminates the need for multiple conversations with single individuals by bringing everyone into the loop to coordinate activities and events.
Google continues to add to its array of tools for Google+, the most recent of which is Google+1 that acts much as Facebook’s “like” button. The feature allows users to vote on things they like, providing Google with a means of suggesting related content that users might find of interest. Google+1 enables users of the social media platform with a way to recommend favorite websites, blogs and merchants, and a way to influence search engine results.
Google+ offers users a new social media platform that allows users to control their information and how they share it. The platform provides the tools to communicate in new ways with local friends or colleagues around the world. Avatars can be uploaded for customization, allowing anyone to become part of a larger stream of consciousness.