While everyone has been using Facebook and Twitter, it seems, Google+ has been gaining ground. Beyond the basic setup, Google + encompasses Google Hangouts (teleconferencing), Gmail (email), Drive () and Voice (phone).
To start, sign in to Google+ and activate your account. Google+ defaults to a multicolumn view; you can change that by clicking “More” at the top and switching to a single feed under “Stream layout.”
You may notice that many posts have hashtags in the upper right; clicking them will load more public posts on the topic. If you don’t like something, hover over and “mute” it.
The distinctive feature of Google+ is its circles. Whenever you follow people, you “add” them to a subgroup, or circle. For instance, make a circle of everyone in your organization; you can overlap subgroups by division, function or product line. Like Facebook, Google+ will suggest people to add.
Share your circles and content using a ladder of privacy settings. But note that if you share a post with only a limited circle instead of publicly, Google+ won’t let anyone else in that circle re-share your post to the public.
To mention someone, type + and the person’s name. Like Facebook, you’ll get a list of names, and clicking on names will notify them of the mention. Notifications add up in a “bell” icon, and you can choose whether to be notified by tailoring your settings in Account/Google+.
The new Hangouts messaging system is laced into Google+, which gives you the option to chat or initiate video calls from within the service. Click “Hangouts” to start.
Source: “Getting around Google+: A guide to the basics,” JR Raphael, Computerworld.