Sunday, 17 July 2011

Mashable: Latest 7 News Updates - including “Reaching 200 Million Accounts: Twitter’s Explosive Growth [INFOGRAPHIC]”

Mashable: Latest 7 News Updates - including “Reaching 200 Million Accounts: Twitter’s Explosive Growth [INFOGRAPHIC]”


Reaching 200 Million Accounts: Twitter’s Explosive Growth [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 03:39 PM PDT


The 200 millionth Tweep signed up for a Twitter account, and to commemorate the occasion we bring you this infographic tracing the history of the platform that led up to that mind-boggling number.

If that 200 millionth Twitterer figure impresses you, get a load of the biggest number on this infographic: 350 billion tweets delivered each day.

Even though Twitter started out with users feeling cramped within its 140-character confines and talking about what they had for breakfast, today it’s turned into an explosive dynamo that instantly brings you news from all over the world. In fact, some have even blamed/credited it with overthrowing governments.

The service has enjoyed spectacular growth over the past five years — its official fifth birthday was in March, but it first became available to the general public in July, 2006.

And now that Jerry Seinfeld has jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, it reminds us that the little tweeting platform that was once about nothing, well, now it’s about something. Something big. One thing’s for sure: It’s changed the world.

by visually via

More About: 200 million, growth, infographic, tweeps, twitter

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Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 02:47 PM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

The world’s obsession with soccer in all its incarnations, is a topic too big to leave Twitter’s top trends. For the umpteenth consecutive week, fútbol remains above the fold on our chart, this time at number one.

For those of you keeping tabs on The Great Twitter Race of 2011, Justin Bieber is gaining on Lady Gaga. The Biebs just reached the 11 million follower threshold, closing in on Gaga’s 11.6 million. The milestone keeps Bieber on this week’s chart at number two.

And a surge of kid media hit the Twitterverse in these past few days. Coming in at number three on our chart is the Disney Channel show Phineas & Ferb, whose buzz was sustained at the prospect of a forthcoming movie.

You can check Twitter trends from the past in our Top Twitter Topics section.


Top Twitter Trends This Week:


Rank
Topic
Intensity
Description
#1
Soccer/Football
2
Mario Been, the head coach of Dutch football, quit his job, citing a lack of trust and confidence from his players. Patrick Vieira, French footballer of Senegalese descent, announced his retirement. The USA women’s football team defeated the Brazilian & French squads to enter the finals. And the Copa America competition continues in South America with Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay & Venezuela entering the Quarterfinals.
#2
Justin Bieber
1
Bieber reached 11 million Twitter followers coming close to the biggest account, Lady Gaga, who has 11.6 million followers.
#3
Phineas & Ferb
1
This upcoming movie spent another inexplicable week in Twitter’s Top 10 trending topics list. Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension is a movie coming out on August 5.
#4
Harper Seven Beckham
1
Victoria and David Beckham had their fourth child (and first daughter) whom they named Harper Seven. Tweeters shared their opinions of the name.
#5
Major League Baseball
1
The MLB All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, and Derek Jeter’s pursuit of 3,000 hits caused baseball to make an infrequent appearance in the weekly top 10.
#6
Lil Wayne
1
Sorry 4 the Wait is a mixtape by Lil Wayne that was released this week.
#7
Harry Potter Movie Series
1
While awaiting the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry Potter fans watched other movies in the series and talked about their favorite characters and books.
#8
Demi Lovato
1
Demi Lovato hit number one on iTunes with her most recent single “Skyscraper” (released July 12, 2011). It marks the end of an almost two year hiatus from the music industry.
#9
Betty Ford
1
Betty Ford, the former First Lady of the United States (1974 to 1977), passed away on July 8.
#10
Fairly OddParents
1
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of its hit show The Fairly OddParents, Nickelodeon produced a television movie, A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner!.


 

Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

More About: List, Lists, social media, Top Twitter Topics, twitter, Twitter Lists

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Is Google+ Becoming More Female?

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 02:19 PM PDT


Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

If you believe the “unofficial statistician” for Google+, the new social network isn’t nearly as male-dominated as previously reported.

Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com and the man who released a report estimating that Google+ was about to reach 10 million users, says that the male-to-female ratio on Google+ is not as disparate as some reports, including those published by Mashable, have seemed. Instead, Allen’s latest figures show that 33% of Google+ users, as of July 14, 2011 are female.

To be clear, this still means that Google+ is still a male-dominated network (at least for now), but the breakdown isn’t as extreme as the 90% male, 10% female stat from SocialStatistics or the 75% male, 25% female stats from FindPeopleonPlus.

Allen’s methodology in estimating Google+ statistics varies from some other Google+ data sources.

This is how Mashable’s Stan Schroeder described the methodology earlier this week,

He sampled a number of surnames from the U.S. Census Bureau data and compared it to surnames of Google+ users. By comparing surname popularity in the U.S. with the number of users on Google+ with each surname, he can guesstimate the percentage of the U.S. population that signed up for Google+. Finally, he calculated a ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate an estimate for the number of Google+ users worldwide.

We’re not sure how census data can be applied to gender, especially on a social network, but we’ve reached out to Allen for additional information on how his data was composited.

Still, Allen’s figures show that from July 4, 2011 through July 14, 2011, the male/female gap closed considerably. On July 4, 2011, Allen estimated that 23% of users were female. By July 14, 2011, that percentage was up to 33.6%.

In its own videos and marketing for the service, Google put a lot of emphasis on women, which to us, implies that women are a prime target for Google+.

In our own unscientific estimates, we’ve seen more women joining Google+ over the last few days than when the service first launched.

That leads us to our question — do you see more women joining Google+ in your own circles? What do you think it will take for the gender ratio to start to balance out? Let us know in the comments.

More About: gender breakdown, Google, Google Plus, social networks, stats

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Breaks Box Office Records

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 01:35 PM PDT


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 not only set a box office record for midnight showings, it absolutely shattered opening day box office records.

The film grossed a jaw-dropping $92.1 million in the U.S. on Friday. That’s not only the biggest opening-day draw of all time, it’s the highest-grossing single day in U.S. box office history.

Worldwide, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is also breaking box office records. The film has already grossed more than $157.5 million internationally, breaking opening-day records in the UK and Mexico.

Box Office Mojo puts the figures in perspective:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 took in 50% more on its first day than the previous Potter film, Deathly Hallows Part 1, back in November. At the time, the $61.7 million opening day was a franchise high. With 1.5x the gross, Deathly Hallows Part 2 clearly sets the record.
  • Deathly Hallows Part 2 also outstripped past films in terms of estimated attendance.
  • When you subtract the record braking $43.5 million midnight gross from the total day figures, you’re still left with $48.6 million for the rest of the day. This, in and of itself, beats the midnight free gross for every other film, with the exception of The Dark Knight (which took in $48.7 million sans midnight totals).
  • The first day ticket receipts alone beat every other weekend opening for 2011, with the exception of Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

SEE ALSO: Harry Potter and the Social Media Surge

The eight and final Harry Potter film is expected to easily best The Dark Knight as the biggest opening weekend of all time. In 2008, The Dark Knight took in $158.4 million in its opening weekend.

Of course, a big factor in Deathly Hallows Part 2‘s boffo ticket sales are the fact that the film was released in 3D. Although 3D tickets only accounted for 45% of the box office gross (as compared to 60% for Transformers: Dark of the Moon), the number of 3D screens available is unmatched by any other new film. Moreover, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opened in 4,375 locations and on 11,000 screens.

Warner Bros. embraced social media in a big way in the promotion of Deathly Hallows Part 2. In addition to running significant campaigns on Facebook and Twitter, the studio also reached out to fan sites and created YouTube videos to promote the film.

What did you think of Deathly Hallows Part 2? Let us know in the comments.

More About: box office, box office records, Film, harry potter, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2, Movies

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Dual-Screen SpaceBook Laptop Up for Pre-Order [UPDATED]

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 11:51 AM PDT


Just when we had decided that a single-screen 17-inch laptop was too big and heavy, along comes this GScreen SpaceBook with two 17.3-inch displays.

You might have seen this behemoth before (or others like it — seemed to be a fad in 2009), but now it’s up for preorder at prices starting at $2,395. Unfortunately, the company’s being coy about the size and weight of this thing, both of which turn out to be the key numbers.

Look at the spec list for the two models featured on the GScreen website, and notice what’s missing:

Update: GScreen responded to our query with the laptop’s weight and dimensions: It weighs 10 pounds, and it’s 16 1/2 inches wide, 12 5/8 inches deep and 1 7/8 inches thick. The company also says more pictures are on the way.

While GScreen is apparently trying to hide those size/weight specs, we dug up some info from the Mashable archives when this product was first rolled out as a fascinating piece of vaporware back in August, 2009. Here’s one number: It’ll weigh approximately 12 10 pounds. Come to think of it, I used to tote around an anvil-like “mobile workstation” that weighed about two pounds less than that same as that, and it served me well for hundreds of thousands of miles with nary a backache.

Mind you, we don’t even know if this is exactly how much this laptop will weigh, and we’re still wondering if it will fit into the typical laptop bag. Those two screens slide together to form a package that has to be relatively thick, but nobody’s telling us exactly how thick that’ll be.

Is 12 10 lb going to be too heavy for you? Think about it: How much weight are you willing to bear to get yourself two spacious monitors on which to do your complicated work? We do a lot of graphics and need multiple screens in our work here, so we’ve grown accustomed to using three and sometimes four monitors at a time. Whenever we’re using a single 14-inch screen on a laptop, it feels positively cramped.

We’ll have to try one of these SpaceBooks before making a final judgment, but because of our multi-screen addiction, the extra size and weight just might be worth it. Meanwhile, we’ve contacted Alaska-based GScreen [see update above], asking for specific dimensions and more than just this one picture and a couple of old ones an early prototype. Until we can see multiple views — and get assurance that this long-announced but never-before-seen product actually exists — we’ll remain skeptical.

More About: Dual-Screen Laptop, gscreen, laptops, SpaceBook

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Google+: The Complete Guide

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 10:01 AM PDT


Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Google+: It’s the hot social network on the block. In just three weeks, Google’s competitor to Facebook and Twitter has amassed more than 10 million users, and its users are sharing more than 1 billion pieces of content daily. It’s become a hotbed for early adopters, tech luminaries, marketers and businesses around the world.

Google+ isn’t the easiest thing to understand, though. It has a lot of features that can confuse beginners. Even advanced users can miss a lot of the little gems and nuances that define Google+.

That’s why we decided to dig into every aspect of Google+, from Hangouts to Circles, from Google+ for businesses to what’s next for Google’s social network. The result is an extensive guide on all of Google+’s key features, as well as an introduction to the service and the important things you need to know about it. We’ve included commentary, videos, photos and more in our in-depth guide. In addition, we will update this guide regularly with the newest information on Google’s Facebook competitor.

So, without further ado, here is Mashable‘s complete guide to Google+:


What Is Google+?


Google+ is the search giant’s latest attempt to create a social network that rivals Facebook. Google launched Google+ on June 28, 2011 with a private beta. The project was led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s SVP of social.

The social network is a collection of different social products. These features include Stream (a newsfeed), Sparks (a recommendation engine), Hangouts (a video chat service), Huddle (a group texting service), Circles (a friend management service) and Photos. We explain all of these features later in this guide. More features such as Games and Questions are expected to launch in the near future.

Google chose the name Google+ because it wants Google+ to be “an extension of Google itself,” Gundotra explained to Mashable days before the launch. It’s designed to be an improvement to all of Google, which is why the company also decided to change the iconic Google navigation bar to include a link to a user’s Google+ profile, as well as a new icon that displays how many notifications a user has received, much like how Facebook handles notifications.

This isn’t Google’s first shot at dominating the social space. It has a long history in social media, including Orkut and its biggest success in social, YouTube. However, it’s had two very big flops in social: Google Wave and Google Buzz.


Screenshots: What Google+ Looks Like


This gallery will provide you with a quick overview of what Google+ looks like. Keep reading this guide to learn more about how to use all of Google+’s features.


Google+ Logo




This is the Google+ logo.


Google+ Icons




The Google+ icons. Starting top left and circling to the right: Circles, Hangouts, Home, Sparks, Profile, Photos.


New Google+ Navigation Bar




All Google sites will sport the new Google+ navigation bar. It includes notifications, profile information and content sharing options.


Google+ Stream




This is the Google+ Stream, where users share content and see what their friends are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed.


Google+ Circles




Google+ Circles is Google's version of the Facebook friend list or the Twitter List. Users can select multiple friends and drag-and-drop them into groups. This makes it easier to send stuff to friends, family or the entire world.


Google+ Circles Editor




This is the Google+ Circles editor in action. Google has created unique animations for adding and removing friends through HTML5.


Google+ Sparks




Google+ Sparks is Google's content recommendation and discovery engine. Users can search different topics and find relevant articles, videos and photos. Users can then share that content with their friends.


Google+ Hangouts




Google+ has a unique video chat feature called Hangouts, which lets you chat with up to 10 people at the ame time.


Google+ Photos




Google+ allows you to upload and share photos with your friends. It includes photo tagging and a simple browser-based image editor.


Google+ Profile




Google+ Profiles are like most profile pages -- it includes basic information about the user like interests, occupation and profile photos.


Why Should Someone Use Google+?


Great, Google made a social network. Now you’re probably asking yourself: Why the heck should I use Google+?

We aren’t here to pitch Google+. Instead, we asked our Google+ followers a simple question: Why should someone use Google+?

The response was overwhelming. We got more than 500 responses on the Mashable News account and my Google+ account. Since we can’t post everybody’s responses, we’ve chosen six we believe encompass why so many people are excited by Google’s new social initiative:

“Google+ is a much cleaner way to selectively share data with others. As Google integrates more of their other cloud products, like Documents, Calendar, and Reader, you’re going to see it become one of the primary means of absorbing the data streaming from the Internet and sharing it with others.” ~ Jason Poggioli

“It’s the combination of being able to share based on (hopefully!) mutual interests with the ability to get exposure to interesting people and ideas. The relationship doesn’t really have to be two way, but it doesn’t all have to be public.” ~ Holly Henry

“For some reason, the level of engagement is higher. Commenting and resharing seems to happen at a higher rate here (so far.)” ~ Bill Shander

“I’ve had a Facebook account since 2003. It’s time for something more grown up that gives me more control and has a more organic user experience.” ~ Sean Cooper

“The clean user interface of Google+, combined with the lack of distracting elements, or so-called features (such as all of the add-on games and apps on FB that clutter up your stream), that I never use, attract me to Google+. This, combined with the Circles feature, choosing who you share with, are the primary draws.” ~ Scott Davis

“If Facebook and Twitter had a baby, they’d call it Google+.” ~ Olaf Wempe


Getting Started


 

At the moment, you need to be sent an invite by a friend to join Google+. While this restriction will eventually be lifted, it’s best if you ask a friend to send an invite to your Gmail account. You must use a Gmail account to sign up for Google+. Google Apps accounts are currently not supported, though the search giant plans to add support for Google Apps email accounts in the near future.

Once you accept your invite, you are taken to a page where you are asked to create your public Google Profile. Fill in information like your name and your birthday, and you are taken to Google+. If you have already filled out a Google+ Profile in the past, you skip this step and are taken to Google+.

While we go through every single one of Google+’s features step-by-step in this guide, it’s always smart to know the basic commands and syntax of Google+. To that end, we have included a Google+ cheat sheet that explains how to mention friends in your posts (like you can already do on Facebook or Twitter), how to bold your text and more.


 


A Video Explanation of Google+


The following videos, produced by Google, provide a quick introduction to Google+. Check these videos out, then keep reading our guide to learn more about each of Google+’s key features.


The Google+ project: A quick look


Google provides an overview of the entire Google+ project.


The Google+ project: Explore Circles


Google+ Circles is Google's take on the friend list or the Twitter list.


The Google+ project: Explore Settings


In this video, Google explores the different settings available on Google+.


The Google+ project: Explore Mobile


Google+ will launch with an Android app. In this video, Google explores the app's features.


The Google+ project: Explore Hangouts


Google+ comes with a group video chat feature called Hangouts. This video explains how it works.


The Google+ project: Explore Sparks


In an attempt to get users to share more content, Google+ includes a feature called Sparks. It provides recommended content based on keywords or topics.


The Google+ project: Circles


In this video, Google talks about the impact of friends and social groups.


The Google+ project: Hangouts


Google talks about spontaneous hangouts in this video.


The Google+ project: Huddle


Google introduces Huddle, the company's group-texting feature.


The Google+ project: Instant Upload


Google+ for mobile includes an instant upload feature for photos and videos. They're uploaded to a private album where they can then be shared from the desktop.


The Google+ project: Sparks


Google talks about exploring interests through Sparks in this video.


Profile


Once you have your Google+ account set up, the first thing you should do is fill in your user profile. If you’ve already created a Google Profile before, that data will automatically be imported to your Google+ Profile — in fact, your Google+ Profile replaces it.

When you first join Google+, it will ask you to enter a few key details, such as your tagline (a brief description of yourself), your employment and your education. It will also ask you to choose a profile photo. Once you set these details, you will have the opportunity to populate your profile with a myriad of other profile details. These include “Introduction,” “Bragging rights,” “Occupation,” “Places lived,” “Relationship,” “Looking for,” “Other names,” “Nickname” and “Search visibility.” On the right-hand side, you have the opportunity to add links that relate to yourself. Most users add a personal website or blog, as well as their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

While you’re on your profile page, you also have the opportunity to change some of your privacy settings. You can allow people to email you from a link on your profile, and you can set this to be public, private or somewhere between using Google+ Circles (explained below).

Your profile also displays who is in your circles, and who has added you to their circles. You can change the privacy settings on the left-hand side of your profile to make this data public or private.


Google+ Profiles




Once you arrive at this screen, click on the "Complete your profile" button at the bottom fo the page.


Filling in Your Google+ Profile




Quickly fill in information such as your tagline, your employment and upload your profile photo.


Google+ Profile Options




There are a lot of different fields you can fill out on your Google+ Profile, but you don't have to fill them all out.


A Completed Google+ Profile




This is what a completed Google+ Profile looks like (I used my profile as an example.


Circles


Understanding Circles is essential to mastering Google+. The search giant has opted not to let you simply “friend” your friends, like you do on Facebook, or “follow” different people as you would on Twitter. Instead, Google+ gives you more control over who sees your content.

Circles allows users to drag-and-drop their friends into different friend groups, which categorizes them. This allows you to put your mom in your “Family” circle, your boss in your “Business” circle and your best friend from college in your “Friends” circle. You can create as many circles as you’d like, though making too many becomes cumbersome and diminishes the usefulness of Circles.

To add friends to a circle, all you have to do is drag-and-drop them into the appropriate circle. You can add friends into as many circles as you want. You can also select multiple friends and drag them into a circle. It initially suggests friends based on who’s in your Google Contacts, but it also lets you find friends by importing your address book from Yahoo!, Hotmail or your desktop. Removing friends from a circle is simple as well: just drag-and-drop from in the circle to outside the circle.

Clicking on a circle gives you more granular control over adding and removing people. You can also rename your circle, write a short description about it, view the stream for your circle, open your circle in a tab and delete your circle.

So why should you create circles in the first place? The answer is simple: You want to share different things with different friends. You may want to share a risqué photo with your close friends, but share a link about your company’s newest hire with just your business network. Google+ Circles gives you the ability to have this kind of control over both what you share and what content pops up in your stream.


Google+ Circles




The Google+ Circles screen allows you to drag-and-drop your friends into different friend categories.


Drag-and-Drop Friends




When you drag a friend over a circle, the circle expands.


Google Explains Google+ Circles




This is the message you'll receive the first time you add somebody to a circle.


Inside a Google+ Circle




Clicking on a circle lets you look at all the members of that group, as well as change things such as the membership and the name of the circle.


Playing with Google+ Circles




Here's what Google+ Circles might look like after a few minutes of work.


Stream & Sharing Content


Facebook users will instantly get the hang of Google+ Stream — it’s just a newsfeed of the latest content shared by your circles. This content can be anything from a status update to a photo.

There are a few differences between the Google+ Stream and the Facebook News Feed. Posts by your friends move back to the top based on which post has the most recent comment, though eventually older posts are eventually buried in the stream. Instead of “liking” a post, you can “+1″ a post — this is part of Google’s push for the +1 Button. You can also share posts with your circles or mute a post if it’s clogging up your stream.

Updating your status is a snap — all you need to do is type some content in the “Share” box at the top of your stream and choose who to share it with. You can share it with the public (all of your followers) or just share it with certain circles. In addition to text, you can share photos, videos, links and your location. Like Facebook, Google+ automatically detects the content of the links you share and allows you to choose a thumbnail from that link.

 

The left-hand navigation includes a Stream option where you can filter your Google+ Stream. If you want to see posts only from your business network, you just have to click on that circle under the stream. Under the Stream option is a link to Google+ Sparks, which we explain later in this guide. There’s also an option to activate Google Chat for your Google+ account.

The right-hand navigation includes a link to manage your circles and a Suggestions section, where Google suggests people to add to your circles, based on who is in your Google Contacts and who your friends are following. Google also lets you start a Google+ Hangout video chat from the right-hand menu (we explain this feature in another section). You can also invite your friends to join you on Google+ from the right-hand nav.


Sparks


 

Stumped about what to share first on Google+? Want to find more stuff about your favorite animal or band? Google has you covered with Sparks, a content recommendation engine that finds the most relevant and interesting articles and videos on almost any subject you can imagine. The Spark for Android, for example, contains links and thumbnails from articles about recent Android news.

Google doesn’t publish how it determines which content is the most relevant, but we imagine it uses signals from search, Google News, Google+ and others to determine which content is the most relevant algorithmically.

Google provides a list of suggested topics, but you can type in almost any topic that suits your fancy. Some sparks have more content than others, though. You can also “pin” your favorite sparks to your left-hand navigation for easy access at any time. Sparks also lets you directly share the content you find with your circles.


Hangouts


In our opinion, Google+ Hangouts may be the social network’s killer feature. It’s a novel twist on the traditional group video chat, and it’s definitely received a positive reaction from the Google+ community.

Here’s how it works: You click on the “Start a hangout” button on the right-hand menu of the Stream. Clicking it opens up a chat window where you can check your mic and choose who will be able to join the hangout (either by inviting individuals or sharing it with your circles). Once the hangout is live, your friends will see the hangout prompt in their stream. They can then join the hangout until a maximum of ten people have joined.

 

If you’ve never used Google Talk before, you will have to install a small piece of software before Hangouts works properly.

Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra compares Hangouts to friends sitting on the porch vs. knocking on a neighbor’s door. Few people are willing to knock on a neighbor’s door just to start a conversation, but if you see friends sitting on a porch and you walk by, it’s almost rude not to drop in and say hi. Gundotra thinks one-on-one video chats are much like knocking on a neighbor’s door, while a Google+ Hangout is like friends sitting on a porch.

Once you’re in a hangout, you will notice a couple of things. First, you will notice that the video switches from person to person. This is based on who is talking into the microphone. You can hover over a person’s video feed and either report them for abuse or “mute” them. Muting someone will mute them for everybody in the hangout, at least until he or she unmutes his or her mic. Users can also mute their video if they wish.

Google+ Hangouts also comes with a group text chat feature (similar to Google Talk). Another cool feature of Hangouts is that users can jointly watch a YouTube video. Settings lets you adjust the mic, camera and other video settings.


Photos


Google+ comes with a fully-built photo albums product, powered by the technology behind Picasa (also owned by Google).

Clicking on the Photos tab on the top of your Google+ page will display recent photos uploaded by your friends, as well as how many comments each photo has received. Clicking on any of these photos brings up a photo slideshow with the most recent comments on the right-hand side and photos from your other friends on the bottom.

The slideshow is simple to navigate — click on a picture to bring it up, or click and drag your mouse from side to side to scroll through other pictures. In this slideshow view, you can also tag yourself or a friend in a photo, or check out photo details such as what type of camera was used to capture the photo.

Another section of Photos lets you check out photos in which you’ve been tagged. This is also the area where you can approve or reject photo tags. No photo will be tagged with your name until you approve it.

The most important feature of Photos, though, is the ability to upload photos and create albums. By clicking the giant “Upload New Photos” button at the top right, you can create a photo album by simply dragging and dropping photos into your browser. Once created, you can share that album with your circles, with individual friends or with the public. Albums remain private until you share them.

Once uploaded, you have the ability to edit your photos right from Google+. The browser-based editor includes simple features such as cross processing, auto contrast and black-and-white effects. You can also rotate the image or delete it entirely.

One more thing: Any photos you upload via the Stream will be added to an album called “Photos from posts,” available in the “Your albums” section of the Photos app.


Google+ Photos




This is the home screen for Google+ Photos. Notice the icon with the number indicating how many comments each photo has received.


An Individual Photo




Clicking on a photo takes you to this full-sized screen, where you can view the photo, see comments, make a comment and check out other photos from your circles.


Uploading Photos to Google+




Adding photos to Google+ is as simple as drag-and-drop. You can also upload photos from your Android phone, and soon your iPhone.


Editing Photos




Google+ comes with a simple image editor for color-based effects. We hope Google will add more Instagram-style effects in the future.


Privacy


The last time Google treated privacy as a secondary feature, it got burned with a lawsuit. This time around, Google isn’t playing games with Google+ and privacy.

In the Google+ settings page (available if you click on the gear icon on the top right of the black bar), you can change all of your privacy settings. From the “Account overview” tab, you can change your password, activate multiple account sign-in (an advanced feature for users with lots of Google accounts) and delete your profile and/or Google account.

The “Profile and privacy” tab is where you can really dig deep into your privacy settings. From here, you can edit the visibility of every part of your profile, manage your circles, change your network visibility, adjust your photo settings, or visit the Google Privacy Center. Google+ also has a feature where you can view your profile as your mom or your friend would see it. This is a useful feature that lets you know for sure if the content you want private is indeed private.

The settings page also has options for editing your email and mobile phone notifications, as well as options for changing the default language and connecting other social accounts to your Google+ profile. The latter feature is designed to improve Google Search more than your Google+ profile.

Finally, Google is walking the walk when it comes to data liberation. As Google data liberation lead Brian Fitzpatrick explained to Mashable, the company believes that if it’s to be trusted with more of your social data, it needs to provide users an option for taking that data out hassle-free. That’s why you can download your Google+ data, including stream posts, profile data and photos. The export feature is powered by Google Takeout.


Mobile


 

Google owns one of the world’s most popular mobile operating systems (Android), so it’s no surprise that Google+ prominently features its mobile apps. As of July 16, Google+ only has an Android app, although it has a mobile web version and the iOS app is awaiting Apple App Store approval. The iOS app is almost identical to the Android app.

The Google+ mobile apps are relatively straightforward. It comes with five different icons and a notifications bar. The mobile app allows you to access your stream, take and upload photos, view and update your profile and manage your circles.

Two features stand out about the Google+ mobile apps. The first is a feature called “Huddle,” which is essentially a group texting feature not unlike GroupMe or Beluga. It allows you to put a group of your friends together so you can send and receive group texts.

The second unique feature of Google+’s mobile apps is something called “Instant Upload.” The Instant Upload feature automatically takes the pictures you take and syncs them with your desktop. This makes it dead-simple for you to share photos you upload when you get home. These photos are uploaded into a private album you can manage and share at your convenience.

As mentioned before, Google+ also has a mobile interface that allows you to post updates, check what your circles are posting, comment and +1 your friends’ posts, and update your location. We expect Google to add more to Google+’s mobile apps as it improves the service.


Google+ For Businesses


 

Google+ already has a lot of users, so it makes sense that businesses would want to get in on some of the action. Several businesses are already on Google+, including Mashable, Ford, CBS News and others.

But hold on! Before you start making your company’s Google+ account, there are a few things you should know. The most important thing is this: Google doesn’t want businesses creating Google+ profiles yet. The search giant announced on July 6 that it would be creating a platform for businesses, but that it would take some time to build.

The result is that the future of businesses and brands on Google+ has yet to be determined. Google could choose to delete all business entities, or it may transfer the followers of existing businesses to brand new business accounts. The search giant is accelerating the development of Google+ for businesses and will begin beta testing in the next few weeks.

We will update this guide as we learn more about Google+ for businesses.


What’s Next for Google+?


Google refers to Google+ as a project because it believes it’s far from finished. The product is only a few weeks old and it has a lot of bugs that still need to be fixed.

We do expect two Google+ features to launch in the near future, though. The first one is a Questions feature that will let users poll their friends, much like Quora or Facebook Questions.

The second and more interesting product is Google+ Games, a product rumored to be in development ever since Google invested $100+ million in Zynga, the creators of FarmVille and other social games. Google+’s code has multiple references to Google+ Games, so we expect it’s only a matter of time until Empires & Allies makes its Google debut.

Most of all, expect Google’s social network to evolve as it tries to meet user requests and sets its sights on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media universe.


Follow Team Mashable on Google+


To help you get started on your Google+ journey, we’ve included a full list of Mashable staff members that are actively using Google+. In addition, you can follow Mashable News for the latest social media, technology and digital news from around the world. We look forward to engaging with you!

+Ada Ospina – NYC Office Manager

+Adam Hirsch – COO

+Adam Ostrow – Editor in Chief

+Amy-Mae Elliott – Features Writer

+Andrew Reedman – U.S. Director of Sales

+Ben Parr – Editor at Large

+Brenna Ehrlich – Associate Editor of Media & Entertainment

+Brian Anthony Hernandez – Copy Editor

+Brian Dresher Director of Business Development

+Brie Manakul – Ad Ops Manager

+Charlie White – Senior Editor

+Chelsea Stark – Community Intern

+Chris Heald – Lead Developer

+Christina Warren – Mobile and Development & Design Reporter

+Connie Preti – Community Intern

+Emily Banks – Assistant News Editor

+Erica Swallow – Partner Content Associate Editor

+Frederick Townes – CTO

+Jennifer Van Grove – Startups Reporter

+Josh Catone – Features Editor

+Karen Hartline – Events Director

+Kate Hayden – Events Assistant

+Lauren Drell – Partner Content Assistant Editor

+Lauren Indvik – Marketing & Media Associate Editor

+Louis Dorman – Art Director

+Matt Silverman – Associate Features Editor

+Meghan Peters – Community Manager

+Pete Cashmore – Founder and CEO

+Robyn Peterson – Senior VP of Product

+Sana Ahmed – Executive Assistant

+Sarah Kessler – Startups Reporter

+Sharon Feder – Publisher

+Stacy Green – Communications Director

+Stefanie Rennert – HR Manager

+Stephanie Buck - Editorial Intern

+Stephanie Haberman – Community Assistant

+Tamar Weinberg – Community and Global Advertising

+Tanya Salah – West Coast Sales Director

+Todd Olmstead – Community Intern

+Todd Wasserman – Business and Marketing Editor

+Zachary Sniderman – Social Good Assistant Editor

+Zoe Fox – Social Good Intern


More Helpful Google+ Resources


The following is a collection of Mashable‘s top resources on Google+. We will update this list on a regular basis:


1) Google Launches Google+ To Battle Facebook [PICS]

2) Google+: First Impressions

3) The Google+ Cheat Sheet [PIC]

4) Google+: The Pros & Cons

5) 5 Chrome Extensions That Improve Google+

6) What's In a Name: Google+ Is Your Plus One

7) A Closer Look at Google's Facebook Competitor [VIDEOS]

8) HOW TO: Upload iPhone Photos to Google+

9) 10 Top Google+ Users Weigh In on the Web's Newest Social Network

10) Zuckerberg on Google+: It's a Validation of Facebook's Vision

11) Can Google+ Sustain Growth Beyond Early Adopters?

12) HOW TO: Make a Google+ Desktop App

13) 5 Hilarious Google+ Parodies [VIDEOS]

More About: facebook, Feature, Google, Google Plus, Guide, social media, social networking, trending, twitter

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46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 08:55 AM PDT


Get ready for Mashable‘s weekly roundup! This week, we’ve performed original Google+ analysis, prepared you for the Mac OS X Lion release, and pointed you toward the best fictional Twitter accounts. We’ve celebrated startups and mourned space shuttle finales.

So review the list of important resources you may have missed over the past week. Tune in for more great stories and tools coming at you sooner than you can say “Spotify.”


Editors’ Picks



Social Media


For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Tech & Mobile


For more tech news and resources, follow Mashable’s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Business & Marketing


For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


 

Image courtesy of Flickr, webtreats.

More About: business, List, Lists, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, social media, tech, technology

For more Social Media coverage:


19 Essential Google+ Resources

Posted: 16 Jul 2011 07:37 AM PDT


Already using Google+? Follow Mashable News for the latest about the platform’s new features, tips and tricks as well as our top social media and technology updates.

Google+ hit the news feeds like a strategic and popular ton of bricks. But we haven’t stopped there. In addition to breaking news, Mashable has provided how-tos and tools for maximizing your Google+ experience. We’ve sourced reviews from some of the network’s early adopters, and we’ve also welcomed your input as you navigate one of the most buzzworthy social outlets of the year.

Read on for Mashable‘s roundup of all resources Google+. Gather tips, analyze reviews, participate in polls and, as always, voice your thoughts in the comments below.


Google+ Tips, Tools and Talk



Screenshots: Inside Google+



Google+ Logo




This is the Google+ logo.


Google+ Icons




The Google+ icons. Starting top left and circling to the right: Circles, Hangouts, Home, Sparks, Profile, Photos.


New Google+ Navigation Bar




All Google sites will sport the new Google+ navigation bar. It includes notifications, profile information and content sharing options.


Google+ Stream




This is the Google+ Stream, where users share content and see what their friends are sharing. It is similar to the Facebook News Feed.


Google+ Circles




Google+ Circles is Google's version of the Facebook friend list or the Twitter List. Users can select multiple friends and drag-and-drop them into groups. This makes it easier to send stuff to friends, family or the entire world.


Google+ Circles Editor




This is the Google+ Circles editor in action. Google has created unique animations for adding and removing friends through HTML5.


Google+ Sparks




Google+ Sparks is Google's content recommendation and discovery engine. Users can search different topics and find relevant articles, videos and photos. Users can then share that content with their friends.


Google+ Hangouts




Google+ has a unique video chat feature called Hangouts, which lets you chat with up to 10 people at the ame time.


Google+ Photos




Google+ allows you to upload and share photos with your friends. It includes photo tagging and a simple browser-based image editor.


Google+ Profile




Google+ Profiles are like most profile pages -- it includes basic information about the user like interests, occupation and profile photos.

More About: Google, Google Plus, List, Lists, resources, roundup, social media, tips

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