Photos: Inside Google+ - how to use Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and more

Photos: Inside Google+ - how to use Circles, Hangouts, Sparks and more

Summary: Take a tour of the Google+ private beta - Mark Zuckerberg already has...


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  • Google+ Stream

    Pictured above is the Google+ Stream, the main landing page where content shared with you from all your various Circles and Sparks appears in one big, er, stream.

    If this page looks really familiar that's because, well, it is...

    Image: Google/CNET

  • Facebook vs Google+

    Google+'s three-column Stream page (bottom) distinctly resembles Facebook's three-column News Feed page (top) as the above image demonstrates.

    As with Facebook, a Google+ user connects their account with other users' accounts and subjects of interest in order to populate their Stream with content. However, Google+ users can tweak what they see by clicking on individual Circles or Sparks to see only the content being shared in that section.

    Image: Google/Natasha Lomas/

  • Google+ Circles

    This is where the Google+ world starts to look a bit different to other social networking services.

    Google's social network is designed to enable users to group people they know into distinct groups - called Circles - rather than having one massive Friends list, so users can better target content they are sharing. Anything you post to Google+ requires you to specify which Circles or individuals you want to share it with. There's also the option to share content with people who are not on Google+ via email.

    Google's Circles system makes adding people to your social network a bit less formal than Facebook's emotive Friend button, by encouraging users to drag and drop people into different Circles. You can create new Circles, and also rename the default suggestions which are Friends, Family and Acquaintances.

    Google mines your email history to suggest people you might want to add to Circles. However, the data mining is pretty crude. was one of my suggestions, along with Not the best contact recommendations I have ever had.

    There are also options to find people via Yahoo and Hotmail, although not via Facebook at the moment.

    Image: Google/Natasha Lomas/

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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