What Is Google Plus?

Are you interested in joining Google PlusR? Learn about how it works and what features it offers so you can decide if it fits your personal and/or professional needs and preferences.

Basic facts about Google Plus

The Google company launched the Google Plus service in late June 2011. Although most people do consider it to be a social network, Google calls it a "social layer" that allows users to interact with Google's existing services on a new level.

Every Google Plus user has a personal profile. This is very similar to the profile feature on other social networking sites. At a minimum, users should upload profile photos and include a few basics about themselves, such as their professions and a few of their interests.

How do you access your Google Plus account? There will be a Google Plus toolbar that appears whenever you are using a Google service, such as GmailR. The choice on the far left hand side of the menu will be '+[User First Name]'. This is your personal homepage for Google Plus. You can view the entire stream from all of your circles, or you can filter the stream for a particular circle.

Connect through circles

Google Plus users connect with family, friends and co-workers through circles. You can add a single user to as many circles as you like. When you post content on Google Plus, you can choose who receives the content. For example, if you are a teacher, you might want to share teaching resources with your co-workers but not necessarily with all of your family. Creating different circles will allow you to send messages to different groups of people with ease.

Share your content

Google Plus has a +1 button that allows you to share content with ease from many different sites, such as articles, photos and product listings. Instead of pulling up the Plus page and copying and pasting a link or other piece of content, you can share it while browsing and then keep moving. This is particularly helpful when you are using a mobile device.

Search for content

Google Plus has a separate search feature that allows you to search content that has been posted on the social network. It is near the top of the Google Plus site. This is a great method for finding content related to specific interests, as well as connecting with individuals who share professions, passions and more.

Additional features

Three of the most popular Google Plus features are hangouts, messenger and instant upload. A hangout is a unique URL that is used for a group video chat. YouTube has a share button that allows users to share videos with friends during a Google Plus hangout. Mobile hangouts are available for certain types of smartphones and tablet devices. Messenger is available for all SMS, Android and iPhone devices. It has capabilities for instant messaging and sharing photos within circles. Instant upload is a private album feature for mobile devices that includes both photos or videos.

Google Plus also offers more than 40 games. They are housed within a games tab that has less visibility than Facebook games. The Google Plus game notifications are separate from other user notifications.

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