Sharing and Replying from Google+ just got better

Google continues to push out improvements and enhancements to Google+ and amongst the latest things to show up is the ability to share posts to Twitter, Facebook and Email easily when using the Chrome browser. Sure you could do this before but it was a little clunky where you had to copy the link to the post and then manually create a Tweet, a Facebook status update or Email and paste it and add your own message. This enhancement makes the process a lot more slick and easy. They have also added an option to Reply to Author which makes it easier to +mention the author in your reply. I get this, I really do, but I’m not sure what the purpose is since the Author will get notified when you post a comment on the post by default so it’s probably more about Google+ etiquette. There is a blog post coming up about +mentions discussing when to use them and when not to. However, what is much more useful in my opinion is the Reply link for comments that have been posted so you can more easily reply to another person’s comment – that rocks!

Sharing a Google+ post in Twitter, Facebook, Email

To share a post click on the drop-down list on the Share button of the post and you will see the three options listed:

Select the option you want from this list, let’s choose Share on Twitter for this example, which will then open up Twitter and create the tweet. Naturally you may need to make some adjustments to make it more readable and you’ll notice the link isn’t shortened (one of these days Google will automatically shorten links using their goo.gl shortening service but I digress). Once you’ve made your adjustments you can post this tweet and you’re done! It works very similarly for Facebook and for Email.

Replying to the Author of a post

This is very simple – you just select the link that says Reply to Author and it will bring up a comment box that will already have the author included as an +mention.

Reply to a comment

Similarly it’s just as simple to reply to someone who has commented on a post by clicking Reply.

None of this is rocket science I grant you but I wanted to make you aware of these so you can keep on top of the many changes that keep coming out making our Google+ experience better and better. Have you found any really useful features and enhancements that you’d like to share?

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Holding private Google+ Hangouts

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Hangouts by their nature are generally open to anyone to join in the Circles you start them in but what if you want to have a private Hangout session with only selected people?  There is no feature in Google+ that allows you to do this but there is a way to achieve this.

You can do this by creating a new Circle which you will use for this purpose only and you can add just those people you wish you Hangout with.  What you must remember here is one of the fundamental things about Circles – just because you add someone to a Circle it doesn’t mean they will see posts from you.  They need to have you in their Circle(s) also to be able to see the Hangout when you start it so you’ll need to ensure you’ve got this worked out beforehand.

So the steps to achieve this are:

1. Create a new Circle for your private Hangout (if you don’t already have one) and you can call it something like Private Hangout.

2. Add just those people you want to Hangout with in your private session to this circle

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3. Go to your Stream and click the Start a Hangout link

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4. You will now be taken to the Hangout Green Room to get ready to start the Hangout.  Ensure that you select only the Private Hangout Circle in the box where it says Who do you want to Hangout with? This is the important step to restrict it just to the people you want.

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5. Click the Hang out button to start the session and wait for the others to join

Once you’re done you can either leave the people in that Cirlce if you’re going to be Hanging out with them again or you can remove them and leave the Circle empty to allow you to add different people for a future private hangout.

So there you have it, while there is no feature in Google+ to allow you have private hangouts by creating a Circle with just those people who you want to Hangout with and then starting the Hangout for just that Circle does the trick.