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Connect to Friends with the Google+ App on the Galaxy Tab 2

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Google has made its Google+ social networking service app available on all Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. Eric Butow tells you how to access the Google+ app, log in to your Google+ account, and navigate inside the app.
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Google+ is the sixth most popular social networking site in the world with an estimated 65 million monthly visitors as of mid-April 2013 (http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites). It may come as no surprise that Google is pushing its social networking service by preinstalling its Google+ apps on the Android operating system; and the same is true for Android 4.1, or Jelly Bean, on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

To access the Google+ app, just tap the Apps icon in the upper-right area of the screen below the status bar and then tap the Google+ icon in the Apps screen (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Tap the Google+ icon to launch the Google+ app

When you launch the Google+ app, it logs you in automatically using your Google account name and password. If you have more than one Google+ account, the Choose Account screen appears, as shown in Figure 2, so you can tap the button to the right of the account name with which you want to log in. After you tap the account name button, tap the Next button in the upper-right corner of the screen just below the clock in the Status Bar.

Figure 2 Tap the Next button after you tap the button next to the account name

When Google+ logs you in, the Your Contacts screen appears as shown in Figure 3. This screen asks you if you want to keep your address book up to date by adding your Google+ connections to your Android contacts. This screen also asks if you want Google to make suggestions about adding new Google+ connections based on who you communicate with most.

The checkboxes for these two options are checked by default, which means Google+ will enable both of them automatically. You can disable one or both options by tapping the checkbox to the left of the option name.

Figure 3 The Keep Your Address Book Up to Date and Improve Suggestions checkboxes are checked by default

Now tap the Next button in the upper-right corner of the screen. The Back Up Your Photos page appears (see Figure 4), so you can back up the photos on your Tab 2 to a private account on Google+. You can't share this private account with anyone else, and no other Google+ user can see these photos except you.

Figure 4 The Open Wi-Fi Only option is checked and highlighted by default

If you don't want to back up the photos on your Tab 2 to your Google+ account, tap Not Now. When you're finished, tap the Done button in the upper-right corner of the screen. The main Google Plus screen appears as shown in Figure 5 and is divided into three areas:

  • The gray menu bar appears at the top of the screen so you can access menus, change the updates you view, refresh the screen, and also see how many updates you have.
  • The latest updates appear as tiles on the screen. Swipe up and down the screen to read more updates.
  • The black message bar contains four icons, so you can share a photo you took on your Tab 2, send your current location to your Google+ contacts, send a message to your contacts about your current mood, or write and post a message to your contacts. You'll learn more about writing a post later in this article.

Figure 5 The main Google+ screen displays the latest updates in your news feed

Tap a tile to open the post on the entire screen, as shown in Figure 6. You can comment on the post by tapping on the Add a Comment box at the bottom of the screen.

When you finish typing your message, tap the Enter button on the keyboard. You can return to the Google+ home screen by tapping the Google+ icon at the left side of the menu bar.

Figure 6 If there is a link to a website that you can visit (in this example, Sweet Day LA), tap the link name to open the website in the Browser app

Within the Google+ home screen, open the side menu that shows a variety of options for accessing different parts of Google+. Scroll up and down the list to view all the options. For example, if you want to create a Google+ Hangout that allows you to set up a video chat with several other users, tap Hangouts in the list to open the Hangouts screen.

Within that screen, you can select one or more fellow Google+ friends you want to invite to your chat. If you want to return to the home screen, tap the Google+ icon in the menu bar and then tap Home in the menu.

More Menu Bar Features

By default, you view posts from all your "circles," which are groups of your Google+ friends that you can modify. However, it's possible to filter posts so that you see posts from only the people you choose. For example, if some of your friends are in the Family category, you can view posts just from those users (presumably your immediate and extended family).

To filter the posts you see by group, tap All Circles to the right of the Google+ icon within the menu bar. In the drop-down menu that appears, tap the circle that contains users whose posts you want to view. After you tap the circle, the screen refreshes and displays the latest posts from users in that circle.

On the right side of the menu bar, you'll see three icons that appear from left to right:

  • Refresh: Refreshes the posts on the screen. If there are new posts available, this icon is blue, so you know you need to tap the icon to view the newest post(s) in your selected circle. You can still refresh the screen even when the icon isn't blue by tapping the Refresh icon.
  • Notifications: The number of new notifications you have received, such as a new post in a group, appears as a box icon with the number of new messages inside it. If there are no messages, the box is gray, and the number 0 appears in the box. If there are messages, the box is orange and the number of new messages appears in the box. Tap this box to open the Notifications list on the right side of the screen and view the list of notifications. If you see a notification you want to view, tap it in the list, as shown in Figure 7. Close the Notifications list by tapping the Notifications icon in the menu or the Back icon in the Notification bar.
  • Menu: Tap the Menu icon to view a menu of more options. You can send feedback about the Google+ app to Google, change more settings such as sharing your location information in your posts, get online help for the app, and sign out of the Google+ app.

Figure 7 The most recent notification appears at the top of the Notifications list in white text and older notifications appear underneath in gray text

Write a Post

It's easy to make a new post—just tap the Write icon in the Message bar as you saw in Figure 5. The Write Post screen appears with the keyboard so you can start typing your message. Once you finish, tap the Back icon in the Notification bar so you can see the rest of the screen (see Figure 8).

Figure 8 The message you typed appears below the list of circles that will view your post

By default, your message is sent to all your circles as well as to everyone in the Public circle—that is, all Google+ users. If you want to share your post with only certain circles, tap the down arrow icon to the right of the list of circles and then tap the circle(s) that you want to share your post with.

You can also tap Or Pick People and Circles in the menu to open the Share With screen and pick your circles or specific contact name from the list.

If you want to share your location with your viewers, tap the Location box. The Share Your Location screen appears so you can select your location from the list. After you select it, your location appears in the Write Post screen.

At the bottom of the screen, three icons appear from left to right:

  • Photo: Tap the Photo icon to open the Camera app on the screen and select a photo or video to attach to your post. When you're in the Camera app screen, you can add the photo or video by double-tapping the photo or video thumbnail image.
  • Link: When you tap the Link icon, the Add Link screen appears so you can type the link's website address on the screen in the box. After you finish adding the link, tap the Done link in the upper-right area of the screen. The linked page appears below the Location box.
  • Mood: Tap the Mood icon to open the Mood page and choose from one of 20 animated emoticons as shown in Figure 9. Select an emoticon that reflects your current mood by tapping the icon you want. The Mood page closes, and the animated emoticon appears underneath the Location box.

Figure 9 On the Mood page, select a mood emoticon as you create your post

When you finish writing your post, tap Share in the upper-right corner of the screen just below the Status bar. After a second or two, the main Google+ screen appears, and your post appears as a tile on the screen.

Now that you've had the grand tour of Google+, enjoy exploring on your own and connecting with your Google+ friends, no matter where you are with your Galaxy Tab 2.

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