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Master the Google+ Interface with these Great Tips

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This post was contributed by a guest poster. More details below.
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Editor’s note: Today, 40Tech is pleased to present you with a guest post from Kevin Moor, of slow-computers.com.

Since launching the preview earlier this summer, Google+ has quickly gained users across the globe, reaching more that 25 million individuals within the first month of its availability. The service has been heralded as ushering in a new wave in social media, as web users begin to shift in the way they connect with those around them. While registration for the site is still by invitation only, the service run by the search engine powerhouse is poised to become a serious player in the crowded field of social networking. For new users try to get familiar with the Google+ interface, the following tips are a great way to stay on top of the game.


Send Private Messages by Way of Post

All of the updates users send to Google+ are called “posts.” Facebook users may be more familiar with the terms “status update,” “wall post,” and “notes.” Google+ groups all of those things together, allowing users to publish posts that can be shared with as many or as few people as desired.

One of the primary features of Google+ is the ability to create “circles.” Circles are designed to mimic interpersonal groups in the real world. For example, you might choose to add all of your colleagues to one circle, while all of your friends from your college days form another. Individuals can also be added to multiple circles, making it easy to keep the right people in the know.

To send a private message to a friend on Google+, you’ll simply need to to indicate that the message can only be shared with that person. Typing their name when you publish the post will make it viewable only to their eyes. You may also want to deactivate resharing once you’ve published the message, as this will prevent the post from being forwarded to other users.


Stay Updated Instantly via Chat

Users who are already familiar with Google Chat are sure to love the chat interface built into Google+. Google has worked to ensure that all of its products and services are incorporated together in its new social media offering. The chat function in Google+ is a great example of this harmony. Existing contacts from Gmail, Google Talk, and iGoogle are all included within the window of available individuals who can be contacted through the system.

Another great option chatting in Google+ makes available is the option to only allow certain circles to chat with you. If you have ever accidentally signed into a chat service, only to be bothered by individuals you weren’t interested in speaking with, you are certain to appreciate the simplicity of this feature. Easily define which circles should be made available for chatting and which you would prefer to avoid, and you’ll keep your chat interface free of unwanted distraction.


Learn to Navigate with Shortcuts

For an easier browsing experience, Google+ incorporates a variety of different shortcuts that make it easy to browse content published by friends and family. Some of the most important shortcuts include hitting the spacebar to scroll down your stream, using the letters J and K to move up or down one post, and using the combination of tab and enter to submit new comments. While these shortcuts may seem a little bit difficult to master, once you have learned the basics, you will be navigating Google+ like a pro in no time flat.


Keep Your Privacy In Check

Sharing information with specific circles is a great way to avoid sharing content that might be inappropriate for certain members of your entourage. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to keep track of which individuals you have granted specific privileges to for viewing your content. Instead of going back to look at the circles that a friend is part of, you can easily view your profile the way that contact sees is by typing the person’s name in the “View Profile As” box on your profile.


As users spend more time getting familiar with Google+, using the new social media client is certain to become second nature. The intuitive design is jampacked with great features that make it easy to see why technology analysts believe Google+ could one day rival the prominence of giants like Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, by spending some time getting acquainted with Google+, users can avoid a steep learning curve in the future, should the service become the primary social media client of choice for web users.

This article is written by Kevin Moor who writes for slow-computers.com, a site reviewing and testing various slow computer issues.