Google+ continues to attract people at a rapid rate, less than a year after its official launch.
In fact, Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at just 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook took 852 days).
Bloomberg reports that the latest social networking site now has 62 million members and is attracting 625,000 people every day.
By the end of 2012, analysts predict membership to top 400 million.
Not on Google+ yet? Maybe it’s time to join! Remember to add me to your Circles here.
Signing up is easy, particularly if you already have a Google account. Once a member, you have a lot of things to enjoy on this new social media site.
So what are the core features of Google+ and what do they achieve?
Your Google+ Profile is where you can tell everyone about YOU.
It’s important to populate this section with information about you, your websites, any links to other social media profiles you are on, plus more.
What you share here is the best way to represent you and your business across the entire suite of Google products, not just Google+
With Google+ you can create personalized groups of people called Circles. You can learn more about Circles in our previous blog post here
Each circle can be categorized: friends, business associates, family or colleagues or whatever you choose.
In short, what you share with a certain circle will not be known by the people in your other circles unlike on Facebook and Twitter.
As such, you can enjoy a private conversation just between those in a particular circle.
In addition, only you know who you’ve put into specific circles. Those in your circles do not see the circle you’ve added them to.
You may have noticed that when you’re logged into any Google account, now there is always the Google+ icon on the top of the navigation bar or, in the case of Gmail, in the drop down menu when you click your profile name.
This is a user-friendly feature that allows you to keep track of your Google+ newsfeed or notifications without having to log into the main site.
Through this integration, you can easily view the conversations going on, add your comments or simply just get updated on the latest news.
Hangouts is a feature that lets users engage in a video chat.
Regardless of their location, users can drop by and chat with any member of his or her circles who is hanging out.
This Google+ video calling service can be used whether you’re on Gmail, Orkut or iGoogle.
It is also compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.
To use it, you have to download the Google voice and video plugin which can be easily installed.
To start a conversation, you need to invite people from your specific circles.
A Hangout could easily be integrated as a tool to use for any membership or mentoring program you may run, as you can add members to a circle then invite them to hangout with you.
Just keep the circle membership exclusive to your program attendees and they can join and Hangout with you on Google+ for a video chat at times convenient to you.
In effect, this allows you to aggregate the news stories you wish to read right within your Google+ profile.
Think of it as a customised newsfeed.
If you find anything of interest, you can +1 it or Share it with your circles.
To find out more about Google+ Sparks, refer to our recent blog post here.
How have you found using Google+? What do you love about it and what should Google change?
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By Wendy Moore
Copyright 2012 Savvy Web Women Pty Ltd
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Wendy Moore is the founder of www.savvywebwomen.com and creator of the Savvy List Building Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to get in front of an audience that wants to buy what they are selling. To receive your FREE Special Report and how-to articles to expand your online List Building toolkit, visit www.wendymoore.net.