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Google+ guide for beginners – 10 tips to get you started

by Steven Williamson on 14 October 2011, 11:16

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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There's a new social-networking kid in town

Unless you’ve been too busy informing your Facebook friends what you’ve had for your breakfast, lunch and tea, or tweeting so much that your family is becoming concerned that you’re more excited about reaching your 10,000th tweet than the birth of your own child, you’ll probably have heard that there’s a new kid on the social networking block vying for your precious attention.

Google+ is yet another place on the internet to absorb and lose yourself in on a daily basis as you trade status updates, stalk people for their interesting banter and try to bag a larger group of “friends” than your mates, even if you don't know half of them.

But wait…Google+ is good, and it is very, very addictive. No sooner have you spent an hour or two in its company then you’ll probably be frittering away hours forming “Circles” and getting invited to secret “Hangouts.” But what does it all mean, where do you start? Read on.

When you first sign-up to Google+ it can be a daunting place, but these 10 tips and words of advice will set you off on the right track.


1. Find some friends
Your Google+ experience begins as an empty palette that you need to fill with colour. Before you start doing anything on Google+ you’ll need to add friends to make the experience richer.

You add friends via the “Circles” feature of Google+. The easiest way of doing this is to upload an address book from the likes of Outlook, Thunderbird or Apple, though you will have to exported the address file.(csv or .vcf) to your hard drive.

Alternatively, you can search Yahoo or Hotmail accounts by just clicking on the tab and entering your email address or password.

The other way you should find friends is by clicking on the “Find People” tab, and then clicking on “Add A New Person.” Type in your friend’s name or email address and see if you can find them.

You now need to choose which “Circle” they fit into.

“Circles” are defined by four categories.
1. Friends – People who are your real friends.
2. Family – Your close and extended family.
3. Acquaintances – People you’ve met but aren’t that close to.
4. Following – People you don’t know personally but whose posts you find interesting

At this point, you’ll probably see a host of suggested friends and you can drag them across to the relevant circle. Just like Facebook, you can also go snooping through friend’s lists to find people you may know.