Google+ may not be the most popular social network on the Internet, but it is getting there. However similar it may seem, Google+ is different from Facebook and Twitter. It has all (or most) features of the competitors, but presents a different approach to sharing content.
Rather than lists of friends, it offers various Circles, to which you can add your family members, close friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and pages. It also focuses on quality of content, allowing users to share long posts rich with media and trigger engaging conversations.
Even if you're a veteran Google+ user, chances are you do not know everything about it. Therefore , the list of 10 great Google+ tips and tricks we're presenting you with below, may prove extremely useful. We also hope it will be helpful for beginners, who are thinking about starting their adventure with Google's social network. Tips and tricks we dug up for you cover various topics and features of Google+, from basic interactions to navigation to customization. Enjoy!
1. Mention someone
While writing a post or comment, you can mention someone using "@" (for people in your Circles) or "+" (for all Google+ users).
2. Master keyboard shortcuts
Did you accidentally throw your mouse out of the window? Don't worry, you can still use Google+. Just like other Google web services, the website is loaded with keyboard shortcuts. To get a list of available commands, go to the main stream view and press Shift + question mark key. Alternatively, if you just want to scroll through the stream, you can use keys "j" and "k". While "j" takes you to the next post, "k" scrolls the stream up.
3. Mute annoying posts
Sometimes long conversations on Google+ can be annoying, especially when people go off the topic and start discussing that cute cat video you haven't had a chance to see yet. To stop receiving notifications about new replies, head to the post you want to unsubscribe from, click on the tiny black arrow that appears when you hover the cursor over the top-right corner of the post, and choose "Mute" from the drop-down menu.
4. Send a private message
There are two ways to send a private message to a fellow Google+ user: Hangouts and Circles. While the first is very easy to use and uses Google's text and video chat service all Google+ users are subscribed to, the other requires some tinkering. When creating a new post, remove all circles. Then type the name of the person (or circle) you want to share the post with, disable resharing, and send. It is not as intuitive as Hangouts, but may come in handy in some situations.
5. Add some style to your posts
Your Google+ do not have to look boring. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Google's social network allows for basic text formatting. To turn the text bold, surround it with asterisks, or italicize it by adding underscores. Hyphens, on the other hand, will cross the text out, giving you a way to express uncertainty or indirect thought. The commands work in comments, too.
6. Find all GIFs you've ever uploaded
There's one cool Google+ feature that automatically makes animated GIFs from related images you've uploaded to your gallery. It comes with a little unknown sub-feature that lets you view all GIFs you've ever had Google+ create for you in one place. Go to Google+ Photos section and search for the keyword "motion".
7. Track how posts spread
Google+ allows you to track how a post is being shared. The feature, known as Ripples (what a cool name!), is hidden in a drop-down menu that appears after you click the small arrow at the top-right corner of a post. Select it to display a chart with detailed information about how your post spread and who has shared it.
8. Personalized on-hover profile screen
When you hover over someone's avatar on Google+, a small window appears. It says where you work and live, but gives absolutely no information who you are. To change that and add some personality to your profile, go to profile edit screen, select the employment section, and write your bio in the first "Employer name" field. Make sure to check the "Current" box, so your bio will display properly.
9. Import Facebook and Instagram pictures
Are you in love with Google+, but miss your old Facebook pictures? No worries. Use Google's Picasa app to import all photos from Facebook in just a few clicks. Moreover, with a handy named Instaport, you can also import images from your Instagram account.
10. Notification box in your browser's toolbar
When Google+ is opened in the browser, it sends you notifications about new replies, comments, and messages. But when you close the tab, you're automatically disconnected. If you use Chrome, however, you can install the Google+ Notifications extension to put a Google+ notification box in your browser's toolbar. It will let you know when there's something interesting going on as well as allow you to clear old notifications and browse the ones you had received earlier.
That's it! If you recommend any other great Google+ tips and tricks, make sure to leave them in the comments and we may add them to the post.