What is the new Google social network

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Google rolled out a new social network: Google+
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What is the new Google social network, Google+, and how do you get started?

Google+ is in the news.  The new social network has been called everything from the next Facebook to a total revolution in online connection and communication. 

That sounds great, but....

The problem is lots of people have no idea how to join Google+.  And once they get there, they have no idea what to do.  Unlike Facebook, it can be kind of hard to join, and a bit confusing to get around. 

Never fear.  We’re here to help you answer the burning question “where do I start with Google's new social network, Google+?”

It all starts with an invitation

Google likes to begin new projects with invitations.  Gmail and Google Phone started that way, and Google+ is working that way too.  The good news is that plenty of your techie/geeky friends probably have invitations to share.  So ask around, and get someone to invite you. 

Now that you’re in the club

Okay, you got an invitation and joined Google+. Now what?   Knowing where to start with Google+ has to mean more than just joining, right?

Yup, and this is the fun part!

Google has made it very simple to add friends.  In fact, they will suggest your entire Google contacts list as potential friends!  All you have to do is click and connect (if they’re on Google+ ahead of you), or click and invite (there are limits to invitations for now, but if a friend you’ve requested later joins Google+, they’ll automatically be connected to you.)

Get into some circles

Google+ operates on the idea of circles of connections.  You can start with their preset circles, like family, friends, acquaintances, etc., or you can create your own circles based on clubs, interests, location or whatever you chose.

You can put people into more than one circle, too. So someone in the “Friends” circle can also be in your school circle, club circle and more.

Circles let you contact groups of people, follow groups of people, and be seen by certain groups of people. That makes it easier to share information with the people who need it.

Get out there and say hello

If you’re a Facebook user, you’re probably used to going to someone’s page and writing a message, On Google, you don’t go do it that way.  Instead, to tag your friends in posts, you type "+" or "@" followed by their name.  Once you start typing, you'll see an autocomplete drop-down menu, with all of the people in your circles. Just click on the one you want, and type your message.

Psst!  Google+ talks to Facebook and Twitter!

If you have Google Chrome as a browser on your computer or handheld, you can add something called Extended Share for Google Plus.  Once you add this, you’ll start seeing an extra line below each post which allows you to share it with your Facebook or Twitter connections. 

Google+ is just getting started

The current version of Google+ has some bugs, can be hard to join and isn’t really clear when it comes to how to use it.  But that will all change as Google responds to user comments and feedback.

Once you’ve joined, keep your eye out for changes, updated versions and new features.  

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