(Google+ is a social platform on which to engage with online networks of friends and others. Mastering its many features is key to unlocking its full potential and scope.)
These days social media sites are becoming a hub for businesses as well. The following statistics shed light on the importance of social media for businesses:
The following is a brief walkthrough of Google+’s features and tools, keep in mind that these will be evolving as the social networking site grows.
Hangouts allows you to video conference with up to 15 of your friends that are online. You can start a Google+ Hangout by clicking the blue Start a Hangout button on your screen. You will then be redirected to a green room, where you can set up your camera settings and choose people or circles to invite to your hangout. Finally you will click the green Hangout button to broadcast your video.
You decide who to invite to your Google+ Hangout in the first place, but then others can easily post the Hangout URL on their blog for others to click and join. After you’ve decided to start a Hangout, you can invite additional people simply by clicking on the Invite button on the bottom of your Hangout window.
Hangouts is also linked to YouTube, so everyone in a Hangout can watch a YouTube video together by clicking on the YouTube button. Once you start the video, everyone is muted, in order to talk you’ll need to click the Push to Talk button below the YouTube video, but this will mute the video to prevent echoes. Google Support, Hangouts - Google+ Help, September 29, 2011
Messenger, formerly known as Huddle, allows you to chat with as many friends as your heart desires within the realm of Google+. Google+’s support page has outlined the steps you’ll need to follow to start a chat and add more members:
Google+ allows you to segregate your friends into Circles, which lets the users share certain information with particular Circles of their choosing.
Circles allows you to categorize your network into many unique little pockets. For example, if you’d like to know how Google+ works for business, you could easily separate your customers, business partners, employees, outsourcers, and potential clients all into different categories. Google Support, Circles - Google+ Help, September 29, 2011
With Instant Upload, Google+ allows you to share an unlimited number of photos and videos with all of your Circles. With Instant Upload, you can easily take photos with your phone and upload them to Google+. The photos are placed in a special album and easily uploaded to your Google+ profile whenever you find the time. For the time being, Instant Upload is only avaliable for Android devices that have the Google+ app already installed Google Support, Share photos from your phone with Instant Upload, September 29, 2011
"*Click on the photos homepage in Google+
Sparks is a groundbreaking feature from Google+ that delivers articles, videos, and more that cater to your unique interests. Rather than searching for new information about your interests, Sparks allows you to identify your interests and Google+ will bring related news to your profile. Its easy to share this information with your circles with the click of a mouse. Then you can spark up a conversation about the topics that you really care about.
Sparks highlights featured interests on its main page and if you don’t find anything worth exploring, you can use the search bar to find something mroe up your alley. After you find something, just add it as an interest and Google+ will update you periodically about the topic. Once you’ve heard enough about the topic you can remove the interest and discover something new!
If you want to talk about your topic with one of your Circles, click Share and begin the conversation. Your Circle will be notified about your new interest.
When you search for a topic in Google+ Sparks, it shares a snippet of information, just click on the link to read the full content. Google+ is constantly trying to improve search results generated in Sparks, so if you see something irrelevant in a search, click Report an Issue and let Google+ know the problem you encountered with the result.Mashable, Google+: First Impressions, September 29, 2011
Google+ is an interactive platform on which to engage in online conversations, share information, and stay connected with the world from the comfort of our home or office. Please update as the site continues its growth and evolution.