How to get started with Google+

You have probably heard about Google+ and you want to try using it, but you’re not sure how? All you have heard is something about ‘Circles’ and that it is like Facebook. Well look no further, this post is to help those of you that want to be trend setters find your way around Google+ and use it like the pros!

First, let me debunk the myth that Google+ is like Facebook. It is true that the designs are similar, but Facebook is primarily used for more “family and friends” purposes than gathering information or researching a topic. Most people look to either a Google search or Twitter to find trends and information. Google+ is more like a blend of a Google search and Twitter — not like Facebook at all.

So you’ve got these Circles…

If you follow Google’s instructions on setting up your Circles you may overwhelmed with choosing the right people and putting them into the right Circle. Well, there is an easier way to start following people who interest you without getting that feeling in your stomach about setting up all those ‘friends’ or people you want to follow: SEARCH!

Google+ Search

Using the Google+ search on a topic combines the power of finding people and Pages on Google+, posts within Google+ and a normal Google search into one results page. Google+ Pages are company brands, similar to people profiles. You can filter the results to only show people in Google+ on the topic you search for. In this example, we search on ‘mobile web’:

Google+ filter search results

Instead of going to the Circles section and choosing from people in your address book or trying to use Google’s recommendations, use the search to find key people to follow. This is how the Google+ pros are doing it. The best part about building Circles using Google+ search is that you can name your Circle the same name as your search term.

Looking at the screen capture you may also notice some other useful tools such as saving the search you performed, to speed up your search. You can also filter to “Sparks” – which are essentially Google search results if you went to and performed the same search. Though, it is my belief that using Sparks gives you slightly better results on a topic than a general Google search. Hangouts are video conferences, which may also be useful in connecting with people for topic research.

Upon filtering the results to “People and pages” you can see that I already have some of these people in my Circles, but Google+ is suggesting some others that I may want to consider.

Google+ People and pages results

In conclusion…

Google+ is gaining in popularity and as more people begin to understand the power behind Google+ search, the more useful the new social medium is becoming. Just last week Facebook announced it was overhauling their search feature, primarily because they are competing with Google — the unquestionable “King of Search!”

Don’t be afraid to set up a Google+ account and start your experience the way Google should have instructed you. Use the search! And you’ll be a Google+ pro in no time.

For more information about Google+ view my Prezi presentation.


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