There are a lot of separate parts to Google+ as a whole, which can be daunting for a new user. This series of articles will clear up the confusion in small bite sized chunks.
I have spoken about creating posts in Google+ in my previous blogs, but there is a lot more to posting than simply typing something into a text box while viewing your Home stream at plus.google.com. In this article I will show you how Google+ is extending it’s reach into the world wide web and also some nice little touches to make your life easier.
Google+ and e-mail integration
Did you know that Google+ allows you to add e-mail addresses to circles? You can add people this way even if they do not have a Google+ account. Anywhere you can type a name to add someone to a circle, you can also enter their e-mail address.
So how does that help you? Well, for one thing when you post to a circle, you will notice there is a little check box at the bottom. Ticking this will e-mail all of the members of that circle (or circles if you have more than one selected).
Don’t abuse this feature though, or you will be labelled a spammer and will more than likely be blocked by people pretty quickly. I use it myself to let friends and family know when I have posted something relevant they want to see, like a family photo for instance. It also means they get to see the picture in the body of the e-mail they receive.
E-mail integration does not end there. Google+ has been integrated across all of Google’s properties, including Gmail. Your Google+ circles are also included as part of your Gmail contacts list!
From the Contacts screen in Gmail, select a circle from the left hand panel. You will see the members of that circle list and as soon as you select at least one of them, you will see the compose icon.
Putting the + into Google+
In order to show your appreciation for something, Google have provided you with the +1 button.
You can +1 a post, a comment on a post and web pages. In fact, before Google+ was released to the public, the +1 button was released so that web masters could add it to their websites.
+1’s in the Home stream
If someone +1’s a post, you may see that post appear in your Home stream (only if All is selected). As you can see from the screen shot below.
+1’s on the web
Just like with the other major social networks, you will see buttons for sharing content you find across the web. The exact appearance of the +1 button may vary, but the basic functions are the same.
Posting with the +1 button
One you have +1’d a web page, you can then share it using the same button. Hover the mouse over the (now red) button to bring up the familiar new post box.
Comment integration with Google+
Google are constantly looking to integrate Google+ with their own properties. For a while now, Blogger has had Google+ comment integration and now so too does YouTube. If you feel like reading more about YouTube and some of the implications, then read this fascinating post by Mark Traphagen.
Google have also (finally some might say) released API’s (Application Programming Interface) for Google+, which means web masters and developers now have much greater flexibility and ability to integrate Google+ with their sites.
If you are a blogger, then you may wish to read my blog about integrating social comments with WordPress to find out how easy it is to do. This allows you to reply and comment using Google+, as you will see if you scroll to the bottom of this post!
If you have any questions about Google+, ask in the comments.