So, you’ve got your profile dialed in and circles setup, now what? Much like Facebook and Twitter, G+ is a place for sharing. Sharing what you are doing, sharing photos and sharing links. Turns out that it is also a pretty good communication tool. Today we are going to talk about posting things and using hangout.
Just like Facebook, you can share whatever you like in G+. Looking at the screen shot, you see you can share a photo, video, link, your location or type in the text box. So far, there doesn’t appear to be a limit on the amount of text (I’ve seen some pretty long posts) or the number of photos that you can share at any given time.
Directly below the post box you see our old friend the Privacy settings. Here you can specify who gets to actually see the post. You can specify a single circle, multiple circles, extended circles and make the post public entirely. When you specify a circle or circles, only people within those circles can see it. When you make a post public, not only does it show up to anyone using G+, it also appears on your public profile, making it available to anyone on the internet.
Once you actually make a post live, there are even more controls that you have access to.
Once a post is live, you can adjust settings even further as you can see in the screen shot above. You can do the following.
- Edit the post!
- Delete the post
- Report or remove comments – reporting them as abusive or spam
- Disable comments altogether
- Disable reshare
The last one is pretty slick, but lets think about that for a minute. Keeping in mind that we should all assume that if we put something on the internet, anyone and everyone can and will share it, the same goes for the disable reshare option. That should be renamed to disable reshare _easily_, as anyone can still screen grab or download the image and share it themselves. All this does is remove the share functionality from the post.
So far so good. Are you digging it yet? If you aren’t yet, I’m pretty sure this next feature will put you over the top!
This friends is the new greatest thing since sliced bread. Hangout allows you to video chat with up to 10 of your friends at once, and I can tell you that it works really slick! When you first start a hangout, you see the screen on the left. Here you can check to make sure you mic and speakers are working, adjust your hair, make sure you don’t have spinach in your teeth and clean up the space behind you, if you like. Again you can specify who you want to hand out with by selecting circles from the list. When you are ready, click Hang out.
This is the main hangout screen. Where you see my pensive mug is the video bar. When more people join, the all get lined up here. Above the video bar is the main video player. Who shows up depends on who is talking **or** who you have clicked on. You control the entire experience, helped with the buttons at the bottom.
- Invite – Use this to invite people into your hangout.
- Chat – This opens a chat window that you can use to share links, or have a chat with someone else in the room without talking
- YouTube – Yes, you can share YouTube videos with the entire room. I’ve found this works a little weird for now. Once Google gets it dialed in it should be pretty slick.
- Mute Video – Clicking this button turns off your video but not your audio. You can still hear everyone in the hangout, and see them
- Mute Mic – Mutes your microphone. You can still hear everyone in chat and see them
- Settings – Settings for you microphone, camera and speakers
- Exit – Stops the hangout
The audio and video quality are amazing. I’ve done this with 3 others so far and can tell you that it works very well. The only thing I noticed was an overall slowdown of my internet connection, but I’m sure that is more a problem with my ISP than G+.
Once started, there are even more controls. You can mute another person, report them as spam, harrassing or otherwise just being a dick, and you can leave the room. All control is left up to you.
Google has gone out of their way to make the G+ experience pretty cool. The privacy settings alone make it great, but hangouts (and some features on mobile that we will be talking about later) make it awesome!
Next time we’re cover the mobile app and a few more features that can be found on the site. If you have any questions, comments are open!