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  1. What Is
July 1, 2016updated 06 Mar 2017 4:05pm

What is Google+?

Know your Circles from your Hangouts.

By Ellie Burns

Google+ is a social media network that taps into users interests.

Google’s fourth attempt into social networking, Google+ launched in June 2011. Users can post photos and status updates to the general stream or interest based communities.

A main feature of Google+ is the ‘circles’ feature, which allows users to group people into groups or lists for sharing. Once a circle is created, a Google+ user can share specific private content to that circle only. For example, a user could set up a friends and work circles, allowing the latter to be shared with colleagues and the former with close personal friends.

However, the option to share with Everyone and Public is always available – which means content is seen by anyone.

Why is the growth of Google+ hard to pin down?

Another key feature is Hangouts, which is a free video conferencing service for up to 10 people. Hangouts allow users to chat through the Google+ website or mobile app, with the service supporting many apps like YouTube and Google Docs.
Other features of Google+ include events, location tagging and multi-person instant messaging.

Although Google+ claims to have millions of users, it still lags behind competitors such as Facebook. However, it is hard to assess Google+ growth as its definition has changed – at first, Google defined the service as a social network, before later describing it as ‘a social layer across all of Google’s services’.


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