I've been active on Google+ for a couple of months now, and have been pleasantly surprised, to say the least. If you have a Gmail account, Google probably made your profile on Google+ and gave it a basic structure. Don’t worry, no personal information has been revealed.

In the 2 months that I have been active, I've more or less been able to figure out Google+; and when I ask people why they aren't active over there, I get these kind of replies – “What is Google+? Just another lab product by Google?”, or “It’s so complicated. I don’t understand one bit of it.”, or, their favorite, “Nobody uses Google+, all my friends and family members are on Facebook.”

Just to answer some of these questions – No, Google+ is not ‘just another lab product by Google’. It is a full fledged social networking website that was launched on 28th June, 2011 and is 19 months old now. In December 2012, just 18 months after it was launched, the website boasts of 235 Million active users.

FUN FACT – Google+ was launched pretty much like Gmail, i.e. on invite only basis. It was opened for the public on September 20, 2011.

Coming back, if you feel Google+ is complicated; this article will help you out. Before answering the next question, I would like to draw your attention to some stats and its interpretation that I worked out for you.

Although this data is from 2008 onward,  we all know Facebook was launched in 2004. This means, it took Facebook 8 years to reach 1 Billion users; whereas Google+ has already reached 400 Million users in its 2nd year of operation. Please note that these stats are only a rough estimate of the number of users, NOT active users.

Clearly, quite a large population of people on the networking websites have either migrated completely or maintaining accounts on both the networking websites. The latter seems to be the general consensus.


Google+ boasts of a number of features and I’ll be discussing each one of them in details. You might want to take a dump or pee before you start reading all of these because the list is quite long!
Before we get started, I’d just like to tell you how all these features work in contrast to Facebook. I believe it will be easier for all the readers who want to know everything about Google+.

1. Google+ Dashboard

Once you’ve signed in your Google+ account, on the left side of your screen you will see a vertical menu consisting of Home, Profile, Explore, Events, etc. This is your dashboard from where you can navigate to any page within the website. You can go view all your communities, your profile, Hangouts, circles and a lot of other things which I shall discuss now.

2. Sharing

Unlike Facebook, your profile doesn’t have a ‘wall’ where your friends can scribble something. If you wish to share something, open plus.google.com and you’ll be in your home page where you can see all the feed, just like Facebook.

Click on the ‘Share what’s new…’ section and here you can share whatever you want, with whoever you want. If you want it to be a public post, choose public. If you want the post to be visible to a selected bunch of people, just select your friends from the list and you’re good to go. If you want to share something with a community, you can do the same.

sharing links on google+

As a good practice, Google+ gives you the option of what kind of material you want to share. Just below the text area, you will find 4 buttons, Add Photos, Add Video, Add Event and Add Link. If you click on any of the aforementioned tabs, you will be asked for the source of that particular media item (Photo or Video). The image below will help you understand the whole sharing process better.

Topics Trending on Google+ as of 26.02.2013
3. Exploring

On the left side of all your feed, you will find the Explore tab. Once opened, you can find all the trending topics on Google+, just like you would, on twitter (yes, those #tags). You will also find hot topics in this section. In layman terms, hot topics are the ones which have been able to gather a lot of eyeballs by the number of comments, +1’s (similar to a ‘like’ on Facebook) and shares that the post has received.

FUN FACT – On the main website, if you happen to scroll below to read all the posts in your feed and want to go back to the top in a single click, click anywhere near the main search bar (placed above the circles buttons) and it will automatically scroll to the top.

4. Circles

This is one of the coolest features of Google+. Just like you would create a friends list on Facebook to manage all your friends, circles in Google+ offers a similar functionality. It helps you to manage and organize your friends and at the same time, decide who to share your next posts with.

If you want to see updates from a particular group of friends in your feed, just select the button next to the home tab to solve the purpose.

5. Hangouts

If you want to make a video call to your friends or family members, you can easily sign into your Skype account and make a call. But what if you want to make a conference call with more than 1 person at the same time? You can either buy a premium account to get access to that feature of Skype, or you could use Google+ Hangouts for free! It’s a great feature which has a much better A/V quality as compared to Skype (personal opinion), and the best part, you don’t have to pay a single dime. As an added benefit, you can even record your video sessions for later viewing or for the purpose of webcasts.

FUN FACT – President of the United States of America, Mr. Barack Obama did a Google + Hangout on 30th January, 2013 with a bunch of students from a High School in California.

6. Communities

Just like you would have pages and groups on Facebook, Google+ offers communities where you can join communities of your interest and meet new people.

7. Google Talk

Everybody knows that Google launched their instant messaging service, Google Talk in 2005. Just like the Facebook’s instant messaging service, the messenger has been integrated in Google+ and occupies the right side of the screen. Needless to say, the feature works brilliantly, without any hassles.

8. Google+ app for Smartphones

Being the world’s second most popular social networking website, it is only justified that it has its own dedicated app for the Smartphones.

Once you download the app, you will meet a clean and extremely user friendly interface. Just like the website, the app also has a clean and uncluttered interface. Moving around the app is extremely easy and all the features of the main website are available on it.

FUN FACT – When you scroll down in the app to view your feed, posts that contain images make a cool pan out (zoom out) effect for the images.

9. Games

The initial reason for Facebook’s success was its ability to integrate 3rd party games into its architecture. People would spend hours playing on Facebook which eventually died its slow inevitable death with time. Google has also implemented a games section to its social networking website.

Almost all the games that are available on the Chrome web browser can be played on the website, regardless of the browser you’re using.

10. Miscellaneous

One of the worst privacy settings are offered by Facebook. Their policy keeps changing and I can only hope that they are not using my personal information for the wrong reasons. Google+ has come up with a solution to the problem. I can manage all my settings which are explained in layman terms so that they can be understood by anyone who chooses to use the platform for networking.

Various options available on a particular post on in Google+
Mute Post – If you don’t wish to view any post in your feed or community, you can easily mute the post and it will no longer be visible.

Link Post – If you wish to share a particular post, you can easily obtain a link to that post and share it to your networking websites.

There are tons of other features that users can explore on Google+ that make it much more exciting than Facebook.

I can assure everyone skeptical of switching to Google+ from Facebook because it is complicated; it is much easier to understand the website in a day as compared to Facebook when they decide to change their user interface.

I hope this post helped you to overcome your hesitations and join me on the other side of awesomeness. I’d love to be your friend and show you around if you happen to take the leap. 


  1. Great article Vinamra! This really explains the functions of the social network. I'm sure this will help many other people!

  2. Thank you Henry! I hope this post can reach to as many people as possible. It'll help them!