What Can I Do in Google+?
Posting in Google+ is easy, and it’s similar to writing an email or blog post. Posting is at the heart of creating content in Google+. Some of the more useful things to know about a post in Google+ is that you can edit it after you post (no more typos!), attach a link, photos, or video to the post, tag people or pages, and set the exact security for the people you want to be able to view the post. Posts are also able to be +1’d, which is similar in function to a Like on Facebook or LinkedIn. Posts are where the bulk of the content is displayed in Google+ and a large part of what you will need to concentrate on. Content within posts are searchable (use those keywords!) from inside Google+ as well as Google Search, providing you or the general public have proper security to view the content.
The area where your posts show up in Google+ is referred to as your stream. You are the only person permitted to post on your stream, so no worries about spam! You are also able to write a nearly unlimited amount of text in a Google+ post, but it’s rare to see someone try to use all 100,000 characters.
The post entry dialog box can be accessed either from your own Profile page or your main Google+ stream. From here, you can enter text, photos, pictures and video, and you can attach links. Figure 1.1 shows what the post entry dialog box looks like. Some basic text formatting options are available as follows:
- To bold text—put *asterisks* around the word or phrase
- To underline text—put _underscores_ around the word or phrase
- To strikethrough text—put—dashes—around the word or phrase
Figure 1.1. Basic post entry dialog box.
Figure 1.2 shows the options to attach a photo to your post. Content with photos tend to get shared and +1’d more often, but be sure you give a good description with supporting text.
- Add Photos: Lets you upload a single photo from your computer’s hard drive.
- Create an album: Lets you upload multiple photos at once from your computer’s hard drive and organize them in a single photo album.
- From Instant Upload: This lets you choose from pictures you have automatically uploaded from the Google+ mobile application (iOS or Android). You will need to configure this setting from your mobile device.
- Take a photo: This option will open a dialog window that opens the webcam on your computer to take a photograph. You must have a webcam installed on your computer to use this feature.
- From Google Drive: Any photo you have access to in Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) can be attached with this option.
Figure 1.2. Post entry dialog box with the ability to attach a photo.
Figure 1.3 shows similar options for attaching video to your post:
- Upload Video: Lets you upload a single video from your computer’s hard drive.
- YouTube: Lets you link a video hosted on YouTube. You can insert the full URL and Google+ will insert the video attachment complete.
- From Instant Upload: Lets you choose from videos you have automatically uploaded from the Google+ mobile application (iOS or Android). You will need to configure this setting from your mobile device.
- Record video: Opens a dialog window that opens the webcam on your computer to record a video. You must have a webcam and microphone installed on your computer to use this feature.
- From Google Drive: Any video you have access to in Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) can be attached with this option.
Figure 1.3. Post entry dialog box with the ability to attach video.
Typing a link starting with http:// in the body of the post text automatically connects the link to the content and inserts any pictures or description text associated with that link. Figure 1.4 shows the basic Link Entry dialog box. Once you click the Add button to attach the link, Google+ checks to see if the link is valid as well as attaches a photo and description text that can be found. If more than one photo is found at the link, you can select the one you want by using the left/right arrow scroll when hovering over the photo. You also have the choice to remove the photo, the description, or both from the link attachment.
Figure 1.4. Post entry box with the ability to attach a link.
A robust feature in Google+ is the Events post. The basic Events dialog box is shown in Figure 1.5 and contains everything you need to schedule an event or Hangout right from your Google+ stream. Following are the options:
- Event title: Name your event something attention-grabbing and informative.
- Time/date: Select the time and date your event will start. End time is optional.
- Location: You can select a physical location and Google+ will automatically embed a Google Map (optional). If your event is to be held online or via phone leave this option blank.
- Details: Enter a detailed description of your event here (optional).
Figure 1.5. Event Options for publishing an Event in Google+.
Advanced options for Events in Google+ include Hangouts and Hangout on Air as well as some additional input fields for event details. Figure 1.6 shows additional options for entering a website URL, ticket seller URL, a link for a YouTube video and transit and parking information.
Figure 1.6. Advanced Event Options for publishing an Event in Google+.
Actions you can take on a post include +1, Share, and Start a Hangout (red box on left). You can see actions taken on any post (red box on right), including how many +1’s and Shares. Click the numbers to view a drop-down box to see the names of the people as shown in Figure 1.7.
Figure 1.7. Sharing options available on a Google+ post.
One of the best features of creating content in Google+ is the ability to set security on a post by post basis and edit text after you publish. To access the Post menu, click the arrow on the right top corner of the post for a drop-down menu. Some options are available only to the account that created the post (Edit this post, Delete this post, Disable comments, Lock this post) but other options (Link to this post, View Ripples) are generally available on all posts you have access to view. Following is a description of all editing options as shown in Figure 1.8:
- Edit this post: Allows you to edit the text of a post after you have published it. You cannot change security (Circle) settings or alter links or media such as photos or video. Any shares of the post will remain as it was published at the time of the share.
- Delete this post: You can completely delete content you have created in Google+, including any attached comments. Note that any shares of this content will still be available.
- Link to this post: This allows others to easily copy the URL “perma-link” to share just that post with others.
- Disable comments: As the post publisher you have the ability to disable other people from commenting on your posts. Any existing comments will remain.
- Lock this post: Once a post is locked, other people will not be able to share the post on their stream.
- View Ripples: Ripples are a visual reporting tool that allows you to see all public shares of a post.
Figure 1.8. Drop-down arrow showing editing and security settings.