Monday, July 11, 2011

Tech Tuesday (on Monday): Google+ (So Far)

So, I joined Google+ last weekend and thought I'd share my opinion of it.

I love it.

What I like about Google+:
*It's like Facebook, with a major difference--privacy and added control. I am not friends with most of you on Facebook simply because I want to keep some things private. On Google+, you create Circles and assign people to them, and when you post something on your wall, you can select which Circles you want to see it. Currently, I have about ten Circles:

4444 Family
C Family (cousins on Dad's side)
D Family (cousins on Mom's side)
Bloggers I Actually Know
Blog Business Contacts
Other Friends

(And yes, some people are in more than one of my circles)

*I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I'm just being honest. Another thing I like is that I can create a Circle of people whose wall updates are the most important to me. (Come on--You know you have favorites!)  In Facebook, you see everyone's update in the stream. With Google+, you can click on a stream that is for one particular Circle and see only the updates from those people first, all in one place. That is really cool when you don't want to miss something important from a dear friend or family member since you were last logged in.

If our neighborhood is planning a block party, I can put up a post on my wall and just share it with my Neighborhood Circle (the rest of you won't have to see it). You can sort of do this on Facebook, but you have to go to a separate place (and create a Group) to do it. If I have something to share with my colleagues at work, I can simply select the School Circle, rather than having to add each person to the message separately.

Of course, you can set up your circles any way you want. I just saw a post from a guy whose Circles are:

Read Now
Read Soon
Read Eventually

*Google+ is also very user-friendly. It looks like Facebook, so that part is familiar. I'm also familiar with Edmodo, and I think Google+ has similarities to Edmodo, so that helps.

*Font size--Thank you, Google+!  It's not a lot bigger than Facebook, but it is clearly bigger than Facebook.

There is also a "Hangout" feature that I haven't explored yet (because I haven't taken a shower yet today and don't want to be seen on video!haha). Mashable describes it this way:

That’s the concept behind “Hangouts,” Google’s new group chat feature. Instead of directly asking a friend to join a group chat, users instead click “start a hangout” and they’re instantly in a video chatroom alone. At the same time, a message goes out to their social circles, letting them know that their friend is “hanging out.” The result, Google has found in internal testing, is that friends quickly join.

[Update: I checked it out with Amy Austin, of Pretty Babies, and we had a ball. I even got to see her sweet little baby boy, who is adorable.]

The difference between Google+ Hangouts and Facebook's new video chat feature (in a nutshell) is the FB video tool is best for two people to chat, and Google+ plus is better for groups. (Groups can video chat on FB, but it's my understanding that Skype will charge fees for that.) Also, with the Google+ Hangouts, a group of people can watch a YouTube video together--I have a feeling my kids (Kyle and Kendall) are going to like that. There is also a chat box inside the video chat room, so you can have text and/or video chat simultaneously.

*I like that people can add you to their circle, but you don't have to add them to yours. If you get tired of seeing their posts, like Facebook, you can simply "mute" their posts (or even block them). You have complete control over who sees your stuff.

*I'm going to add two more observations, from Cool Mom Tech:

You'll find that Google+ allows you to do all those little things you wished you could do on Facebook, like edit posts after they've published; or unsubscribe from certain discussions so you don't have to be alerted every time yet another person says "Happy Birthday!"

I also love that you can email your updates to people who aren't in Google+, great for when you want to share that photo with Grandma who hasn't made the jump into Facebook.

What I don't like about Google+:
*They won't let me use my Mrs4444 username--No numbers or special characters allowed. How dumb is that?!   If you google my real name, you won't find my blog, and if you google Mrs4444, you won't find my real name; I like it that way. MrsFours will have to do, but I don't have to like it.

*I would very much like it if they would show my Circles on the top of my circles page and their recommendations below that, rather than vice versa; I like to see the "big picture" first.

*It would be really nice if Google+ would add an "Invite to Google+" option under the More Options tab in a Gmail Contacts. (Hear that, Google? Thanks.) That way, I could add my entire neighborhood at once, instead of clicking on each name separately, hoping not to miss someone.

*If you want to privately message someone, you can't do it on Google+; you have to do it via an email button on the page. [UPDATE: I figured out that you can message people individually, much more efficiently than on Facebook, too; you simply type the person's name in the field, instead typing in a circle. @ signs can also be used when mentioning someone else (like in Twitter). Nice going, Google. I love you even more, now! :)

*I hope that Google+ doesn't get cluttered up (like Twitter) with daily blog-promotion stuff. I don't mind an occasional request to visit a special post, but I really don't like the every-day, all-day "Read my blog" Tweets; I need a Blog-Promotion-Free Zone.  Maybe I'll just create a secondary blogging circle for those with Google+ goals similar to mine--strictly socializing. Yes! That's what I'll do!

Will I give up Facebook? I guess it depends on how many people in my real life join Google+. I am certain I'll be using Google+ to connect with bloggers in a purely social way--I love finally having a place for that!  If you'd like to join my Circle let me know, and I'll happily invite you if I haven't already.

I want to apologize if you have no interest in joining Google+ but got bombarded with emails from Google about it because of me. (If you did, it might be because I added you to my circle and they might have sent that to you; I don't know how they do that.)  Feel free to send an email asking me to delete you from the circle-business :) Better yet, just copy this paragraph and send it to me--I'll get the hint.

More Google+ Stuff:
Here's some excellent stuff about Google+--Very good information here!
If you enjoy English people (especially those who speak slowly), check out this video tour of Google+.
Google Plus: 8 Quick Tips and Tricks
Another important question (and answer) about Google+

So that's my two cents about Google+. If you have an opinion or a question, I'd love to hear it. I've also got a video tour of Google+ in the works (hopefully for tomorrow), so stay tuned if you're still curious.

P.S. If you're like me and have been wondering what this is:
It's Google +1, not to be confused with Google+.  It's basically like Stumbleupon; when you click the button, it tells everyone you think that's something worth reading, and it improves the item's ranking in the Google search engine. To learn more, watch this short video from Google.


  1. So far, I don't have enough friends on G+ to really make the most of it. So my feelings about it are kind of undecided.
    Did you know there's a feedback button on the bottom of the home page? You can tell them what you think!

  2. I've been having fun seeing you pop up in my Google+ stream the last couple of days.

    So far, I'm really liking it...I think it has the best parts of facebook and twitter combined. And I'm hoping that they really are taking all of the feedback seriously, because if so, it is just going to get better.

    If you do a hangout, I want to join in (I'll even shower that day!)

  3. I've been itching to try it out but I haven't been able to sign up yet! Thanks for explaining a little more about it =)

  4. Most my friends are on Facebook and I think I'll just hold off on getting involved with another social network thing. I joined Blog Frog and am very disappointed in that because I find it hard to navigate and no one bothers participating in my discussions.

  5. I'm so slow on the uptake! I got your invite and I had no idea what it was for! D'oh!

    For now, I'm refraining. FB already takes up too much time and for now, I'd rather keep up with my friends that way.

  6. I am reeeeallly out of the tech loop. This is the first I have heard of Google+ and have even considered getting off of FB and the like. Still deciding....

  7. I haven't explored it yet but I'm trusting you that it is words though I think you would probably use the word awesome! Have a wonderful Monday!

  8. I tried Facebook a couple times, but did not get into it. Guess I am not a social person. I have a busy daily life, at the end of the day most days I am surprised the day if over already. I joined Google + but have not done anything with it. I will keep reading about other peoples experiences with it but right now I don't think this is going to enhance my life or attract me enough to give it some of my time. For me, when I want to say something to someone, you for instance, I email.

  9. I have a techie friend who announced he's leaving facebook for Google+. I hadn't heard of it, so he invited me. Then a few other people did--all this happened on Saturday.

    I have no idea how it all works, so when I'm more awake, I will return to this post and study it. Thank you. :)

  10. Love your tech.posts. Not having teenagers in the house puts us at a disadvantage for keeping up with technology. I might not do all of it, but I still like hearing about it and having the chance to try it. Thanks!

  11. I did receive a circle invitation from you through email. I'll put Google+ on my back burner for now. Once again I'm going through a phase where blogging is losing steam, and I'm finding it difficult to write posts and leave comments. Somewhere down the road I'll check this out, but thanks for the heads up about it.

  12. Karen, I joined BlogFrog, too, but like the Facebook Fan pages, it expects people to go to those pages regularly. Seriously? We're all supposed to visit each other's blogs and individual fan pages, too? I just don't think it's practical. I like that with Google+, we can all meet in one place for socializing.

  13. Hey, Thanks for sharing my video. I'm glad that you found it share-worthy :)

    In your post you mention that you'd like to be able to add the whole block at once. Whilst invites are open you will find an "Invite people to join Google+" on the lower right hand side of the page.

    Also unless it's been changed since I first created my circles, once I'd finished adding my contacts it gave me an option to invite everyone I'd added to the circles to G+. Perhaps they restricted this feature, whilst they are still in beta(kind of).

    Good luck with it all and feel free to connect with me at

  14. I got an invite, but I just feel like I don't need one more social media place to waste time on.

    I think you can also make it on FB so you only read the people's feed you want to.

  15. thanks for sharing the info and opinions on this. You definitely have a tech interest that I find a little surprising since your teaching work and family must fill your days. You got me started on google+ so thanks for that too. I was talking with my daughter about this and FB. She was telling these controls are on FB but agreed that most people don't know how to use them. FB interface is very confusing, having been in development in my past career I believe their management just throws changes out there and doesn't do much planning around it.
    The circle idea is simple and easy to use.
    I love being able to edit my posts/updates in my stream.

  16. Good info! I haven't made the jump yet, but I've been hearing an awful lot about it. This gives me a clearer overview of what all the chatter's about. Thank you: )

  17. This is great! I just bookmarked it, so I can refer to it once I join Google+. Thank you for all of this information :)

  18. Thanks for your very interesting post. I just joined Google+ yesterday, so I haven't had time to do much with it. But so far I'm pretty impressed.

  19. It might be something I'll try out, just to see if it is better than Facebook. The more I hear about it, the more intrigued I get!

  20. I am curious about Google+ but it all seems so complicated. Everything is starting to seem complicated to me anymore. There are way too many things to learn about and keep track of and yet I don't think I could do without a computer ever again.

    Tossing It Out


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