By now most of you will have been offered the G+ invite from at least one of your Gmail contacts, and if not, hang in there sunshine it’ll happen soon.
I’ve spent the better part of 2 days playing around on G+, getting to know the interface and asking really dumb questions to my community of about 500 or so contacts. It’s always fun being the first bunch on board, it gives us that advantage of looking like a noob only with a small audience, and by the time a bigger audience joins you get to be that superior and arrogant person who frowns upon the newer noobs who make the same mistakes you made. All in a day’s internet life, I suppose.
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Anyway, I digress. Here are a few tips and tricks for making G+ that much more pleasant for you:
1. Use G+ on Chrome.
I’m not sure why anyone else would want to use any other browser except for troubleshooting code issues, but I found that G+ looks, works and feels better on Chrome. Not surprising really, considering they come from the same stable.
2. Download a couple of Chrome/ G+ extensions
These help to get you on with your day and work tasks but still not miss out on anything exciting. Surplus allows you to read, comment and share on G+ from anywhere on the web and Google Plus Nick allows you to get a shortened vanity URL right up front. Get it now while the really short ones are still available!
3. Disable email notifications
One negative comment I have is that being emailed every time anyone makes a move on G+ really got annoying. As soon as I could, I disabled every single one of them and it immediately increased G+’s ranking in my mind. If you download Surplus, you won’t need them anyway: All notifications display in the top right hand side of your Chrome browser no matter where you are on the web, so why receive a million emails on top of that? Silly!
4. Disable”Also email xxx people not yet using Google+”
If you’d like to keep your friendships, relationships and working connections alive and well, doing this is advised. Mine was selected by default without me noticing and every time I updated my G+ status I was sending it to not only my circles, but to 700 odd Gmail contacts and they were not stoked.
5. Your contacts cannot see what circles you put them in – have fun with it.
6. Click on Notifications in the left sidebar
There’s a chronological listing of all your Google+ notifications. Clicking the “More” link at the upper right of that stream gives you some useful filtering options:
- Added to Circles – see everyone who has added you.
- Posts by You – not all the posts you’ve written (those are in your Profile), but those you’ve written that have been shared by others.
- Posts by Others – posts written by others that you’ve commented on.
- Mentions – posts in which you’ve been tagged (when someone in your circles types a “+” and your name, you are tagged)
- Photo tags – posts with photos in which you’ve been tagged.
7. Keyboard shortcuts
Much like Google Reader, G+ offers some rad keyboard shortcuts:
- J – Lets you skip to the next post in your stream without scrolling
- K – lets you jump upwards post by post
- If you click on a post and hit return your comment box will open ready for your comment.
- If you hit tab and return you will send your comment
8. Along with shortcuts, here are some type tips:
- _ italic text _ will look like italic text
- * bold text * will look like bold text
- - strikethrough text - will look like
9. Personal themes
While I’m sure it’ll eventually happen, G+ doesn’t offer any themes right now. But that doesn’t mean some clever nerd hasn’t figured out a hack already. If you’d like to personalise the theme, here is a cool PSD template to use.
10. Photo albums
And finally, if you want to import Facebook albums, here’s another hack you can use: picknzip.com is a totally free backup online tool that will allow you to download photos from Facebook in a single zip file. You can then upload your photos to G+ in one shot.