Now anyone can join in Google+
As has been reported widely today, The Google+ Project as it has been known up until now, is open for all to join, following a period of more than two months of ‘closed’ testing by up to 25 million users. When you go to your Google homepage you will see the blue arrow and link to +You, where you need to go and set up a Google Profile (if you don’t already have one) so that you can get access to Google+
But why should you?
There are a number of compelling features that make Google+ a prime contender for the crown of King of the Social Networks. This has rightfully belonged to Facebook since its widespread adoption in 2005 – after all there are now more than 750 million Facebook accounts in circulation (not all are active of course). However Google+ goes for a slightly different approach by offering functionality such as ‘Hangouts’ for multi-way video chat and ‘Circles’ of friends. They aren’t ground-breaking in themselves, but when you consider this in conjunction with Google’s reach through its search product, Google+ will be visible to almost everyone on the web from today, and that provides potential traction, even for existing Facebook users who may wish to see what it has to offer once their friends are also doing so and adding them.
You may want to stick around on Facebook too for the moment though – today Facebook has rolled out even more updates, with some directly responding to Google+ Circles and others intended to let you show only the information you want to see.
How do you get started?
Go to http://plus.google.com and sign into your Google Account – this doesn’t need to be a GMail account – you can have a Google profile associated with just about any email address. Once you’re in, you will want to start following people and adding friends to your ‘circles’. It’s all pretty intuitive, but one trick you will want to try is getting your Facebook contacts across to Google – well help is at hand:
- Sign Up for Google+ and click on ‘View all’ at the top right
- Click ‘Find People’ which will show the options to add friends from your Yahoo! contacts and from your Windows Live Hotmail contacts
- Open your Yahoo! e-mail or Windows Live Hotmail and you can import your Facebook contacts
- Go to ‘Contacts’, ‘Manage’, and click on the ‘Export’ option
- Go back to your Google+ profile ‘Find Friends’ tab and click on either the Yahoo! or Windows Live Hotmail icon
- Sign in to your Yahoo! or Windows Live account and permit Google+ to connect the account with your Google+ profile.
- Once authorised, all of your Facebook friends will be added to your Google+ account so that you can add them to your Circles