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Friday, 29 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 9. Sorting out Suggestions.

Whenever you access your Home page, you will notice that you have some people suggested to you under the  Suggestions header over in the right hand side column. These suggestions are made based on the type of people that you have already added to your circles. So if the largest majority of those users added to your circles are (for example) those in Social Media, then most of your suggestions will also be from that category of person because the default setting for Suggestions is ‘Relevance.’ You can change this by clicking on Show All at the bottom of the three persons shown. You can also change the Suggested persons by clicking on the X to the right of their name in order to cycle through them. So let’s take a closer look at Suggestions shall we?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 8. Notifications and Settings.

Every time that someone adds you to a circle, you will receive an email notification to inform you of the fact. You do not have to add them to one of your circles of course, but one way that you can ‘vet’ those people who have added you to one of their circles, is to see what sort of posts they are making by accessing their posts that they make via Incomings. Incomings is purely a stream made up of the posts of those who have added you but who you have not yet added. Taking a look at your Incoming stream helps in deciding which people to include in a circle or not, and also which of your circles to put them in. For example, if you note that most of their posts are about photography, they can then be placed in a Photography circle.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 7. Having a Hangout.

Proving to be one of the more popular elements of Google Plus with users so far is the Hangout element. What exactly is a Hangout? If you own a webcam or have one built into your laptop, you may have already made use of talking to a family member or friend via a video call. Hangouts take this a stage further and entail you being able to talk and see several people all at once. This could be family members, friends or members of one of your circles that you have created on Google Plus. You can begin a Hangout yourself, or alternatively join in to someone else’s Hangout if you see one already taking place in your stream. So let’s work our way through a Hangout shall we?

Friday, 22 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 6. Using Sparks and searching for new friends.

One of the features included in Google Plus is called Sparks and it can can be accessed from the left hand side column of your Home page. Sparks becomes really useful if you have created a circle of friends who are all interested in the same topic, such as Photography or Cycling, Reading etc. Sparks will allow you to do a search by topic or interest which you can then share with your other like minded friends on Google Plus. Let’s say you have begun a Book reading Circle and you wish to do a search for a  particular author to then share with the other members of that circle. Sparks can really prove useful in doing that. So let’s try out Sparks shall we?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 5. Sharing your photos.

One of the main delights that most of us enjoy doing on any social networking site, is to share our photos with either our nearest and dearest, or people we will probably never meet from around the world. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ is a very true saying, and  for many internet users from the beginner to the professional photographer, the internet has become a showcase for their photos. Google already has the Picasa photo program including Picasa web Albums, so it make perfect sense for them to integrate Picasa into Google Plus. As with all of your updates on Google Plus, you can share a photo publicly or just to one person, the choice is entirely up to you. So let’s work through sharing a photo shall we?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 4. Diving into your Stream.

As you begin to add other people to your circles on Google Plus, your stream on your Home page will naturally begin to fill with posts and updates which you will most likely want to interact with, comment on and react to. You might just want to reply to someone who has left a comment on one of your own posts for example or take part in an on-going discussion about a subject that you are interested in. As you scroll down your stream to read all of the posts and decide to join in a topic of  conversation, you have quite a few choices at your disposal regarding how to react either to someone else’s post or comment or to add your own reply or comment to that particular post. 

Monday, 18 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 3.The Home Page.

Once you have added some family members, friends and acquaintances to your chosen circles, you can begin to share your updates with them. Google Plus gives you full control over who exactly will be able to see your updates so that you can be totally selective and quite specific regarding exactly who sees that update. In the same way that you wouldn’t inform a stranger that you were intending to go shopping or to the pub, neither will your close family such as your Mum probably be all that interested in some technology news that you have just found out about. Google Plus allows you to ‘home in’ on your intended audience for any updates that you wish to share. Let’s take a look at the Home page and see how this works.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Google Plus for Newbies. 2. Creating your Circles.

Now that you have filled in your profile so that other users can both find you and glean some information about you and you have adjusted your privacy settings to your satisfaction, you can then move on to adding some people to your circles. Google has already set up some default circles for you as suggestions, but you do not have to stay with the titles that they have chosen if you don’t want to, you can rename any of your circles to suit you. The idea behind circles of course, is that you are separating your family or friends or any other group of people that you wish to share updates, photos or links with because you simply don’t want to share the same things with different groups of people as in real life. So let’s add some people shall we?

Google Plus for Newbies. 1. Let’s get started!


If you are reading this how to, you have probably been sent an invite to join Google Plus by one of your friends who is already on the trial. This will be in the form of an email which will ask you to ‘Learn more about Google Plus’ so click on that to be taken to the Google Plus Welcome page. At first glance this Welcome page may look rather daunting, as there is quite a lot of information for you to digest on there, so you may be rather confused as to where to begin. As with most Social Networks, its best to start at setting up your Profile, and adjusting your privacy settings as you go along. As these are fairly comprehensive on Google Plus, we’ll work our way through them all step by step.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Google+. From a Granny’s point of view.


For the last few days, I’ve been trying out Google+, the new social network to arrive on the scene from Google. What, another one? I hear most of you cry, but I for one love it, in fact I haven’t been able to keep off there since I received the invite!  Some of my readers may be aware that I have never been a fan of Facebook, I only began using it because members of my family asked me to join. Google+ is far more to my taste, from it’s brilliantly conceived circles that allow you to keep everyone separate so that you can just post an update to those you choose, to its fantastic integration of Picasa and your photos. Oh, and don’t of course forget Blogger!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Taking a look at the new Blogger Interface.


At last after months of waiting, Blogger has updated its Blogger in Draft interface. We users have probably had to wait until the soft launch of Google +, as other areas of Google are also receiving updates during this time. When I logged on this morning to my Blogger account, I was very pleased to see the new interface in Blogger in Draft. Some users are already unhappy with it, mainly the colours used and the waste of space on the page, but I for one prefer it to the older version, its light, looks far more in keeping with todays web pages, and is an absolute joy to use.

Monday, 4 July 2011

How I make use of Photo Fuse in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

During our recent day out in York I wanted to take a photo of a very attractive building, but there were so many people walking in front of this particular building, I simply couldn’t get a clear shot of it. The answer is to take quite a few shots from exactly the same spot so that you can ‘fix’ it and remove all of the people using Photo Fuse in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Of course, the original intention of Photo Fuse was to arrive at a perfect ‘Group’ shot of people, but I find Photo Fuse far more useful when I wish to take a shot of something and I can’t get a clear shot without including people walking past. Here is my step by step ‘how-to’ showing you just how to remove any unwanted portion of your photos and arrive at your perfect shot.