We all know Google.com has become the search engine of choice for many internet users. The "+" in Google stands for all the other Google offerings: Gmail, News, Translate, Drive, Maps, etc. One of the services is a social network that is much like Facebook only much more stream-lined (and with no ads!). Connect with family, friends, and colleagues. Build your business and find clients or customers. Or simply interact with people who share your interests.
Why do you need another social network?
One website I found states there are 300 million active users on Google+. That number is backed up by a blogger for the New York Times. That's a lot of social and business activity. So instead of asking why I should use Google+, I say, why not?
Let's get started! Sign up for a Google+ account by going to Google.com and clicking "sign in" (located in the top right-hand corner). Fill in the information and create a password. Upload a profile picture and choose your settings. Click here to learn more details. And if you still want to learn more, this site offers a wealth of information.
Once you've signed in, you can find the social network by clicking the "+[your name]" at the top right-hand corner of the screen. It looks like this:
Now let's take a look around, shall we?
Clicking your Home Button (red arrow #1 on the image below) will bring you back to your main social networking page. This is where you can actually share posts, pictures, etc with your friends. Simply click inside the box that says "Share what's new" and begin to type. Use the icon in the box to share photos, links, videos, and events. Hover over your Home Button, and you can use it to go to your profile, people, communities, settings, and more.
Now let's look at the dashboard of Circles (red arrow #2). When you friend someone on Google+, you designate a Circle—that you create—to place them in. As you can see, I have Circles named Friends, Family, and Acquaintances. I have other Circles and those show up under the More button. Separating people this way makes it easy to share items of interest with a particular group with just once click.
Now let's talk about "Communities" for a moment. In the image above, I have clicked on Explore so you can actually see where to find topics that interest you. Because I'm a fiction writer, I naturally joined communities that revolve around books. I found these communities by searching for: #writers, #readers, #self-publishing, etc. But you can search for any topic that interests you. I found other communities by searching for: #recipes, #food, #cooking, #travel, etc. Explore the many Communities Google+ has to offer.
Hangouts (red arrow #3 in the image above) is a fairly new feature of Google+. It allows real time conversations with your friends. You can chat, share photos, and even enjoy group video calls. Simply sign in and begin to hangout.
Google+ has many other features, but these are the basics. If you're on Google+, let's hook up. You can find me at: google.com/
Did you find this blog post helpful? What other information would you like to know about Google+?