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Intro to Google+ Q&A

Google+ QuestionLast week we hosted the webinar “Intro to Google+.”  We had a lot of great questions and unfortunately couldn’t get to all of them within our allotted time.  So here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that we received.

Q: How can we start on Google +?

Google+ is currently in beta and is available by invitation only.  If you know someone on Google+, you can ask them for an invitation.  Google is allowing small numbers of new users in at a time, so even those with an invitation may have to wait a little bit to gain access to the new social network.

[UPDATE] – Google just announced that Google+ is open to the public and no longer invitation only.  You can sign up at plus.google.com.

Q: Are all Google+ accounts for individuals or do they have accounts for companies?

Currently, only individuals can sign up for Google+. Rumor has it that Company accounts are coming this fall. If you want to see an example, Ford Motor Company is beta testing the service and has been making updates quite frequently.

Q: Can those in a circle all see each other when you post, or see each other’s names?

The only time that members of a circle can see each other is when they comment on your post. Otherwise, the identities of the people in a particular circle remain private.

Q: I apologize if you already addressed this, but how do “Sparks” differ from searching for topics in Google’s regular search bar?

Sparks are stories from around the web that Google has determined are about certain topics. Creating a spark will get you a continuous feed of stories matching your keyword topic, delivered to you automatically. Sparks usually delivers news stories or blog posts that are more recent than what you’d find in a regular Google search.

Q: I’m not sure of the difference between Hangouts and Huddles. Can you clarify please?

A Hangout is a video conference with up to 10 people at one time.  It’s pretty slick and you can see it in action in the Hangout demo.

Huddles are done via the Google+ Mobile App.  A Huddle is a group (usually a circle) that you can share mobile updates with.  When you post a message to that Huddle, it goes out to everyone in that Huddle.  If someone replies, they reply to everyone else in the Huddle.  In our experience, it’s a great way to organize group outings and keep everyone in the loop on who is going where.  But Huddles could also be used by teams to share information quickly from anywhere.

Q: Can I record what’s going on in my Hangout?

Unfortunately you currently can’t record a Hangout.  However, if you have screen recording software you can record your Hangouts in a round-about way.  It would be really cool if Google would implement recording on Hangouts (hint, hint).

[UPDATE] – Google just announced that you can now share Google Docs and your desktop on Hangouts.  So now you can collaborate with others or just show off your vacation pictures with other users.  You can also now partake in a Hangout via your mobile phone.

Q: What is the advantage of using Google + in addition to FB and twitter? We are already posting on these social media outlets and don’t really use video conferencing at this time.

The benefit of using Google+ is that you are able to reach a more targeted audience than you could with Facebook and Twitter. You can set up circles and only share news and updates with people who are interested in that specific topic. For example, I’m not going to share interesting SEO articles with my family, but I would with my workmates and people within my industry.

When you set up the Google+ integration to Facebook and Twitter you can post to all 3 sites at one time. The Google+ extensions are available in both Firefox and Chrome. Once you have set up the integration and start to write your post, you will notice a number appears next to the Facebook icon at the bottom left of your post, this lets you know how many characters you have typed.

Q: Can you also connect Google+ to blogs?

Quite a few Google+ widgets have come out for various blogging platforms.  Most of these widgets allow you to add your Google+ profile badge to your site (showing your picture, # of people in your circles and the ability for others to add you to their circles).

Google has also just launched their Google+ API, which allows you to pull publicly available Google+ information.  Expect to see many more plugins across blogging platforms coming in the near future that make use of this API.

Do you have any questions about Google+? 

Please feel free to share in the comments!

Tags : social media

About Brandon Andersen

Brandon is the Director of Marketing at Cision US. In his role, Brandon leads Cision’s US marketing team and develops strategies for engaging marketing and PR professionals. He is a host of the popular Cision Webinar series, and blogs about everything from inbound/content marketing tactics to future trends in communication and technology on Cision Blog. Find him on Twitter @brandonchicago

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