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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  • 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/silicon.com

  • 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. NO-REPLY@Flickr.com was one of my suggestions, along with unsubscribe@primelocation.com. 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/silicon.com

  • Google+ photos

    The second icon of the four on the Google+ nav bar is the photos icon. Here, users can browse a collage of all the photos being shared by people in their Circles, photos they have uploaded, photos tagged with their name and mobile photo uploads.

    The page layout is a cross between Flipboard's photo montage feature and Google's own Images search page.

    Image: Google/Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

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Topics: Apps, Software Development

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