With Google + starting to open to the general public our superstar intern @trusttommy (with the help of the even more talented Alex) worked on a special project today to bring you 10 tips that will make your life easier if you are only starting out on the new social network. Although Google + will probably seem easy for techies to understand at the start some of the features are more advanced and it's actually surprising how much you can do and how many handy little short cuts there are. Nobody knows if Google + is going to take over from Facebook or even replace it in the long term but if you do want to start getting the best out of it you are going to have to learn some of it's best features and this handy list of tips will help you do that...
How to change the formatting in your updates
Make your Google Plus status updates stand out by using these very simple formatting tips. Make text bold, italicized or put a strike through your text.
Sparks is a pretty nifty feature that helps you follow your interests. Like-minded people use Sparks to share links or discuss what they're passionate about, from movies to comic books, from social media to pizza.
Dragging And Dropping Photo Content
Google Plus makes it super easy to share photos and videos in your stream. All you have to do is drag and drop the media into the sharing window and post away.
How To Mention People Twitter Style
Google Plus copies Twitter's wildly popular "@ reply" feature. Simply put "@" before someone's name and they'll be linked in your status.
Sending Direct Messages To Multiple Users
This is a little counter-intuitive, but Google Plus does allow you to send messages directly to one user. You do this by posting a message only one person can see. While it seems jarringly different to Twitter (and Facebook), it's actually neat because you can very easily send a direct message to three or four people, something that's hard to do in Twitter.
How to link to updates
A "permalink" is a URL that points to a specific Google Plus update, instead of just the homepage in general. Useful when you want to link to someone's update.
How To Manage Your Privacy
Google Plus is taking on Facebook in one crucial area: privacy. Because of this it's being very transparent as to who sees each status update. Highlighting the "limited" beside each status update shows who sees the update, making it very easy to manage your privacy.
Like most of Google's services, there are loads of keyboard shortcuts you can use to speed up your Google Plus usage.
How To Mute Notifications
When you comment or +1 a status update on Google Plus, you'll get a notification of any more activity on that status update. Sometimes this can lead to a lot of annoying notifications, so Google Plus allows you to easily mute them.
What Your Profile Looks to others
Again, Google Plus shows its concern for your privacy by allowing you not only to see how your profile looks to an outsider, but also to specific people. You can check what a specific user can and can't see on your profile with this easy checker.