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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?

1. Go to your Home page by clicking on the Home icon at the top.

2. Click on the Sparks Header in the left hand column in order to access the Sparks page. As you can see from the screen grab, there are several subjects already suggested for you such as cycling, fashion, recipes, gardening etc.

Sparks in Google

For this how-to, I’m going to search for one of my favourite authors Ian Rankin because if I had a reading circle I might want to share the latest news about Ian with that book reading circle.

3. Type in your interest or subject into the search box at the top of Sparks and then begin the search by clicking on the blue magnifying glass. A list of articles about your interest, in this case Ian Rankin will be shown for you to scroll through.

Interesting article about Ian Rankin

4.You can simply click on the header of each article to read it, or alternatively share it to whoever you wish. In this how-to, we will share it to our Book Club circle. The lower article titled Real-life Ian Rankin mystery of ‘reverse heist’ sculptures looks very interesting so let’s share that.

5. Click on Share and another window will open where you can add a comment and then choose exactly which circle of friends to share this article with, in our case for this how-to, our book reading circle.

Sharing it with bookreaders club

6.You can also add that particular interest to your Sparks list so that it is permanently there for you to search through again at a later time simply by clicking on Add Interest from under the search box. Clicking on that particular interest from your Sparks list from your Home page will then update with the latest news about that interest.

But what if you want to find ‘like minded’ users on Google Plus who share exactly the same interests as you do? Or maybe you wish to include all those who live near you to give another example? For that, you use the Find People search bar at the very top of the Google Plus page.

Finding people

7.Type into the Find people search bar, your criteria or interest. For this how-to, I used Steam Trains because its one of my big interests. Before the search begins, you will be offered the choice of Find everyone matching ‘Steam Trains’ so click on that choice.

22-07-2011 10-01-28

8. Another page will then open up consisting of all of those people who are on Google Plus who have included the words ‘Steam Trains’ in their Profile. Now you can see why its so important to place all of your interests into your Profile so that other like minded people who share the same interests as you can easily find you!

Steam train fans

9. Scroll down the page where you can then choose from the list of people the one’s that you wish to make new friends with. You can find out more about them by clicking on their name to be taken to their Google Plus profile. As you share at least one interest, you should have plenty to talk about and share!

Next post, we’ll take a look at Hangouts and also your notification settings.


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