The Ultimate Guide to Google+

Sparks

Sparks is the area of Google+ where you can search on topics you’re interested in, then pin those interests to your sidebar. Sparks pulls from Google searches with a heavy emphasis on blog and news content. From the Sparks stream you can easily share an item with the people in your circles.

To get started with Sparks, Google+ has featured interests such as Cycling, Android, Recipes, Gardening, and Comics. Clicking on one of these shows current web results for that topic. If you want to add a specific interest, type it into the search bar under Sparks.

The Spark search results are very different from what a regular Google search will return for the same phrase. For example, we added “Jeep Wrangler” as a Spark search. Instead of returning the Jeep homepage, the Wikipedia page and the Edmunds.com page for the vehicle as the general Google search did, the Spark search returned a question posed to a blog about tire sizes, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution link about an accident involving a Jeep, and a classified listing for a Jeep Wrangler.

Your interests are kept private until you share it with one person or with one or more of your circles.

Share a Spark. To share an article that “sparked” your interest, click on the Share link beneath the article. Add an optional comment at the top of the article, then choose to share it with all of your circles, one of them, or one person. To share with just one person, start typing their name and the pop-under will start suggesting people.

Hangouts

Hangouts is Google’s multi-user video chat area. Users can choose to let others know that they are hanging out (and even start an empty hangout space) or invite specific people or circles to come hang out by clicking the button on the right column of the home screen that says “Start a hangout.” From here, you can invite individuals, people in specific circles, people in extended circles or the general public (if you’re in a ChatRoulette kind of mood) to video chat. When the hangout session is over, Google+ will inform your circles or the Internet at large who you were hanging out with.

One interesting aspect of Hanging out with more than two people is that you can see all participants in the hangout along the bottom of the screen, but the person in the big video window switches depending on who is talking. When more than one person tries to speak at a time, the switching can get intense. You can stop the switching by clicking on a video thumbnail to set one person up top, including yourself.

Watch writers from BoingBoing hanging out here.

Listen to Hangouts in a different language. Charles Warren figured out a way to use Google Translate’s Listen feature to converse with video chatters in another language: “I used the Google Translate Listen button to quickly render in Chinese the funnier bits of conversation for [my friend]. My laptop speakers transmitted the conversation to the Hangout loud-and-clear.”

Google+ Guide

LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

  1. Robert Lewis Says:

    Looks very interesting. I am in facebook but not a big fan. This looks much more controlled. I will watch for an invite.

  2. orenoren Says:

    nice post! Thanks for that …

    But one thing i would like tu do but the description is not detailed enough (at least for me) is this :

    “This is where you can also choose not to show up in other people’s circle …

    How does this exactly work? It means i can choose, not to appear in other peoples circles (on the status page) if i dont want to, even though i have them maybe in one of my circles?

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE