PhoneDog 101: How to use Google+

Published: June 19, 2013

Our world is a fascinating place, and one could argue that it has never been more diverse, opinionated, and ever changing than it is right now.  Today we stand connected to our friends and families in more ways than ever before, and Google has given us the perfect tool to help build and maintain those connections with Google+.

Google+ is a cross platform social networking tool that lets us organize how we discover and share information that's important to us.  The mobile industry is always looking for ways to bring people closer together and Google+ lets us connect in ways we have never seen before, utilizing tools like Hangouts, Communities, Circles, and an extensive photo backup and sharing system.  So let's take a closer look at the social network in this PhoneDog 101: How to use Google+.

Stay connected

The point of any social network is to connect with the people, artists, and interests that are important to you.  Google+ takes that to a whole new level by providing you with tools like communities and circles.  My personal favorite feature of Google+ is the Communities feature.  With Google+ Communities you can search for a larger group of people who share a common interests like cooking, technology, or sports for example.  If you’re like me, a Boston Bruins fan who lives in a Chicago Blackhawks favored area during the Stanley Cup, the Bruins community on Google+ is a great place to come together with other fans. 

However, staying connected with the people in your life gets even easier with circles.  The idea behind Circles is that when you don't necessarily want to share with your boss at work what you would with your friends, you don’t have to.  Circles let you choose which people to share with, without the mess of blocking or hiding people.  This creates a much more realistic relationship- based network, much like how we interact with people offline day to day.  Users create a new Circle or add people to existing Circles, when you connect with them on Google+.  This keeps your friends, for example, separate from you're co-workers.

 

Never lose a photo again

With Google+ you can set up your profile so that anytime you take a picture with your smartphone, you automatically find the photo backed up on your personal Google profile.  You can choose to keep the photos private for your viewing only, or to share them with your Circles and Communities.  Not only does the photo backup feature keep a personal stockpile of your life's precious moments, but it also allows you to enhance the photos with an extensive amount of filters and tools. 

To upload and share a photo, first turn on auto upload from Google+ settings (remember its private so nobody else can see your photos).  Take your picture and then go into your Google+ application.  The application will prompt you to select the photo right away to share, place a location, or edit.  Go ahead and tap the picture to select it, and hit the share button.  From here, it will let you choose which Circles or Communities to share the photo with.  You can also write a description and tag a location to go along with the photo.  Again tap share, and you will have uploaded the photo for your specific Circles.

Hangouts

Talking about Google+ wouldn't be complete if I didn't mention the awesome Hangouts feature.  This cross platform application lets you continue the conversation no matter where you are.  This feature is especially handy when it comes to groups of people that use different operating systems for their mobile devices.  For example, the group texting feature works really well from iPhone to iPhone, but once someone joins in on an Android device, the group gets broken up. 

With the separate Hangouts application, you can keep the gang together.  You can group chat or even video conference on the go.  This feature keeps you in the same Google ecosystem no matter what you're using.  For iOS and Android users, be sure to download the separate application from the App store or Google Play Store.  Once the application is downloaded, simply log in using your Gmail log in information.  You will notice all of your Google contacts are ready for you to interact with already.  From there, go ahead and start chatting!

All in all, Google+ provides its users with an immersive and personal experience that is in some ways unmatched by any other social network today.  Although the application is only for iOS and Android devices, users can still receive and send updates and photos through any mobile browser and SMS.  With the great photo backup tool, Hangouts application, and an easy to use interface that lets you collaborate and discover with others; Google+ is a great application for any mobile user.

Now to turn it over to you, the reader:  Do you already use Google+ or do you prefer other applications for social networking?  Do you have a favorite Community on Google+ or do you use the service for photo backup?  Let us know in the comments!