+Jaana Nystrom

Welcome to my Circleverse!

Google+ is my passion: I want to help others to get the most out of it.

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Nobody can become Somebody on Google+

A life changer!

After receiving an invitation to join Google+ in June 29, 2011 I've never looked back.

There was just something in this platform that swept me off my feet: I decided already in August that year that Google+ will somehow be the lode star of my new career.  I saw this as an opportunity especially for the small entrepreneur without unlimited marketing budget to get the message out there...

I quit my job and started to study entrepreneurship, business and social media. Teaching myself how to use Google+ and different social media platforms.  I'm an avid believer in life-long learning!

Usually I'm a bit shy in sharing references or testimonials in public, but this one is just too good to pass:

"Jaana Nyström was instrumental in the process of writing What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us. Since then she has risen to the top of Google+ experts, and she continues to help the Google+ community with her informative posts and blog. 
When Google+ matters, you couldn't be in better hands than Jaana's."
                                                       +Guy Kawasaki  

How I became the most followed Nobody in Finland

I started my own business in 2012 after 23 years in the travel trade: Coaching businesses and non-profits in social media and especially Google Plus.  "How to market your business without money"!

Consistently NOT posting solely about my own topic but sharing a wide variety of interests with my Circleverse: I've also been helping a lot of people and dishing out my knowledge for free since the beginning: I blog, manage my own business Pages and communities in two languages.

+Gplus Expertise in English and +Gplussa  in Finnish are my main Pages, but as a hobby I also curate news and articles to +Finland Explorer and +Travel Pro Tips.

One of my clients for whom I cover the social media is a Finnish non-profit +Outward Bound Finland: Not just on Google+ but also on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I train the staff and help them with the photos, website & blog, giving tips for marketing and strategies.  Since I started managing the account in April 2013, the visitor count to the website has tripled and their courses sell better than ever.

Everyday I also answer Google+ related questions in several languages in my communities, as well as working as a Google-approved Top Contributor in the official Google+ Help community, reporting bugs and helping plan a better Gplus with suggestions and listening to the "man in the street" or the user.

Curating Google and Google+ topics, sharing good articles and my own posts to help people learn more is a passion.

How is it possible to manage all this on my own?

People frequently ask me how can I manage between the volunteer Google+ help work, my business and managing the social media field for my clients:
Using the Bufferapp for scheduling and sharing around the Interwebz has made all this possible for me. Whenever I come across a good article I immediately buffer it to be shared later, in one or more of the twelve accounts inside my +Buffer .

+Scoop.it  is a fantastic platform too, even though the follower count is nowhere near my Google+ profile or even my Pages, but for many Twitter users it seems to be the best sharing option.

+RebelMouse and +Paper.li are great for sharing, the Mouse I perhaps like better because I can get my Google+ posts among my other social media messages, all in one place.

The most important point in my rise to the half-a-million club on Google+ has always been not faking it: Being myself, creating original content and also sharing posts from other good sources. Just doing my "thang", sharing stuff that interests me.

I've been lucky too, being a couple of times in the Google+ suggested users list has helped me along enormously and hopefully has made it possible for more G+ newcomers or Goobies to get their hands on my free advice and tutorials.

I have some big news!

I have entered a partnership with another European Google+ Top Contributor: +Carol Dodsley.
Many of my followers have been asking for more inside knowledge, coaching and training, now this is the perfect opportunity to pick our brains! :-)

Very soon the entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, bloggers, small and medium businesses and even brands out there who wish to learn how to properly utilize Google+, will be able to access an exclusive Members site and community.

What's in it for you?
Google+ and Your Business training and coaching with lots of social media tips and tools thrown in, based on our long experience in the business world and also on Google+. There will be no jargon or bullshit bingo: Just professional advice and tutorials to help you make your business more visible.

Follow this Page for the launch information:  +GPlus Professionals

About curators and content:

You're reading this article thanks to +Martin W. Smith and his post on Google+:

Do your thing and they will come, even if you have a double vowel and an umlaut to your name. 

Would you like to add something?

My Paper.Li    My Scoop.It    My RebelMouse

Monday, 31 March 2014

Content views on Google+!

NEW update rolling out:  Views instead of +1's

See how many times your Google+ page & content has been viewed by other people!

This number on your profile box next to the follower count is the sum of your profile, post and photo views since October 2012.

When you look at your Google+ page or profile, you can see your total number of views. This number tells you how many times your content has been seen by other people, including your Photos, Posts, and the page itself.  Also private posts or the ones shared with your circles or extended circles.

You can still see the +1's, shares and comments on each post. Only the way to display the engagement of a Page has changed: Now showing the times anyone views your post in their stream.

Why not take a screenshot today and compare it to the growth later?  Looks like the numbers update every 24 hours.

Do post good stuff and especially photos, blog about your passions and share the articles on Google+, engage with your audience and grow the numbers organically.
Resorting to any kinds of tricks is a famously short lived practice where Google is concerned...

View counts may not be exact, and may not be updated in real time.

Hide or show the view count of your page & other content

You can use your settings to choose whether or not people see the number of times your page and other content have been viewed.

The Google+ settings on your profile: Uncheck to hide the Views number.

Desktop for business Pages:

Open Google+. Place your cursor in the top left corner for the Google+ main menu.
Click  Pages.
Click Manage this page on the page where you wish to change the setting.

Click open the round profile pic in the upper-right corner of your screen and then click on Page Settings.

Scroll to “Profile.”
Check or uncheck the box to the left of “Show how many times your profile and content have been viewed."

Android / Mobile Web / iOS

You can’t adjust this setting from your mobile device just yet. Please use a desktop computer to hide or show your view count.

Q&A from Googler +Yonatan Zunger:

What does this number count? This is total views on your profile, your posts, your photos, and your videos. 

What constitutes a "view?" For your profile, when someone goes to view your profile page. For other things, it's when they look at it -- e.g., when one of your posts shows up on someone's screen. (That's because this is how most people read posts: showing up in a stream, without clicking on it explicitly) Looking at your hovercard doesn't count.

Is this related to +1's, reshares, etc.? Only in that someone who +1'ed your post also probably saw it. You can already see counts for those on individual posts, etc., and before today you could see view counts for each photo if you looked carefully at the one-up view -- now you can see that for everything.

If someone reshares my post, does that count? Yes, since a viewer is seeing your content. Ditto if someone sees your post through an "Alice +1'ed this," through a post embedded on a page, or any other way that someone encounters it.

This seems strange: Some people seem to have a lot more views relative to their number of followers than others. Is something broken? Not at all. Some people have a lot of followers but don't engage with them well, while other people engage amazingly with a smaller group. 

New addition from Yonatan:
I can confirm that +1's, comments, and reshares are not counted in this, only views.

Help Center article

The Views (here are mine)

Coming to the profiles and business pages soon all over the Circleverse...
One cannot break down the Views to see where they are coming from. Google has plans for the business pages, I guess. That would make sense.
- The Insights in the Dashboard of a Page: Mine is empty at the moment, perhaps something there in the future?

What do you think of the change?

I've seen people grumbling about the profile Views that they cannot see bounce rates etc...
Come on, before we had nothing on profiles, not even Plusones to show any level of engagement.  If you're a business, you are already using Google Analytics or some such on your Page, surely?

Patience, this is all part of Google's BIG plan.  There will be more.

Oh, and +CircleCount has listed the most viewed profiles already!

You may wonder why some people have few followers on Google+ but large number of views?

Check out their Blogger blog, could be very popular and as the blog photos are hosted on Google+ nowadays, those might also count as views.
Chromecast showing Google+ photos definitely counts, some of the top photographers on Google+ have staggering view counts. Like +Romain Guy with his 15 billion and 700 million etc views...

Before this update we had no idea how widely spread our content may have been, as the majority of people just "stalk" or read posts without interaction. Now all this has changed.

There's a lot of interesting speculation and discussion going on about the new feature:
By the way, I didn't believe that embedded posts like this add to the view count, unless you engage on the post.  Although here Yonatan says:
If someone reshares my post, does that count? Yes, since a viewer is seeing your content. Ditto if someone sees your post through an "Alice +1'ed this," through a post embedded on a page, or any other way that someone encounters it.

I stand corrected:

The implications as I understand are this:
Someone with lots of followers shares your post -> you'll get plenty of Views.
In the old days resharing a blog post like this would not actually "reshare" any embedded post, but  now there will be "Views"?

Finally, as the Views presumably also come from photos on Blogger and YouTube videos shared on Google+, the amount of followers on Google+ is not a decisive factor here, methinks.
See for instance +Teresa Richardson who has 27 million views, but only 4000 followers. Her YouTube channel is extremely popular though.  She only allows her circles to comment on Google+ posts, so that creates even less interaction / views.

Some other good examples include +David Kutcher  +Andy Page who are not overly active on Google+ (well, David is) but in Blogger? Oh, boy! They're both Blogger Top Contributors, too.

This nails it, forget all your follower count vs. Views stats and calculations:

Thanks to this find from  David Kutcher I think we have a winner. 75 followers and over 22 BILLION views...

Blogger template kings notwithstanding:
I think that this update will create even more engagement and interaction on Google+ posts and comments, at least from the profile owners view.

A Pro Tip for getting views organically:

Speaking of eyeballs on our posts...
Why not share your Google+ posts outside the platform, too?
Just click the post open or copy the URL from the time stamp and share that in Pinterest, Twitter, etc.

I'm using the +Buffer for scheduling and sharing: I click open a post in a new tab, click on the photo / image attached and right click "Buffer this image", then I can share it to any of my social media platforms I have on my Buffer account.  Even a photo album like I did here, though only one pic shows in the Twitter post:

Google+ Pages, Facebook Pages & profile, Twitter, LinkedIn...  Great tool.
There is a free version, then an Awesome plan for 10 USD / month and ultimately the Business plan for bigger needs, 50 USD / month.

I've been using Buffer since its Beta, love it. And no, I'm not in any way connected to the Buffer company.

Back to the matter in hand, this still needs answering:
When someone shares your post, does the sharer also get Views?

And here is the answer:

More from the over 200 comments to Yonatan's post:

- All posts are counted, but we don't show the number if you have only a small number of views because that could be used to expose who has read things. (Photos used to be 250 views -JN)

- If you post a single photo in two places, that's actually two posts referring to the same photo. So the photo's view counts will come from both places, while the post view counts will come from each separately. 

- the view count is just posts, photos, videos, and profile.

- +1's and sharing measure active engagers, but on pretty much any kind of media, lurkers make up something like 90% of your readership. Total view count tends to give you a good idea of how many people are really seeing what you say.

- (About follower vs views ratio:) I'd say that ratios should be looked at rather carefully - the raw counts may be more useful.

We live and learn, folks!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A poll for Google+ users

Okay, there are so many replies to this, I must close the poll and start sifting through the results!

I am testing the use of Google Forms around the social media.
At the same time I thought I'd create a poll for you Google+ users to participate in. I'd really appreciate it if you could use a few minutes to fill in the choices and leave a suggestion for the betterment of Google Plus.

I will update this blog article with the results later.

Thanks a million for helping out!

How to create your own poll with Google Forms

Friday, 14 February 2014

How to promote a Business Google+ Page

Congratulations, you have created or are about to create a Google+ business page!
On Google+ a page can follow anyone, also personal profiles. A page can join communities and create them, too.  A page can +mention anyone, send private messages and engage just like a personal profile: Very different from Facebook.
See the helpful links at the end of this article!

For your page promotion to succeed, keep these five steps in mind:

★ Post good content, not only your own ads
★ Engage with others on comments
★ Share their posts and add your thoughts
★ Join communities
★ Don't spam communities, don't just drop links

Linking your Google+ Page and your website:

This is a great way to drive traffic to your page and it provides an excellent opportunity to engage with your customers and fans in a closer fashion.

Link your Google+ Page with your AdWords campaign:
Connecting your page to your campaigns allows your advertising and page to share +1's.
Any +1's on your ads will increment the count on your page and vice versa.

Create a RSS feed from your Page to your website:
See the right side of this blog with the feed from +Gplus Expertise page.

Add a badge to your website or blog, display your followers:

Now that you’ve got a fantastic Google+ page to offer your fans and customers, the time has come for you to spread the word via your content. This can involve several different promotion tactics, most notably placing a prominent link to your Google+ page on your main website. 
You could show off those already in your circles, allow your website visitors to share your content with their own circles with a single click, or simply provide a link directly to your Google+ page; with all of the different choices for interaction on the network, your options really are quite extensive.

Badge types - from Google Developers

Because Google+ pages, profiles, and communities are different, Google offers slightly different versions of the badges:

Allow people to easily find you on Google+ and add you to a circle directly from your website.

Includes the profile badge features and adds some additional functionality. They help Google consolidate +1's from your website and your Google+ page, and make your website eligible for Google+ Direct Connect.

Help people find your community and engage with other users on a topic they find interesting.

Try these different strategies to promote your Google+ Page and gain followers:

Share your page – visit the Page but as your own profile, then share. :-)
- click the reshare arrow in the top banner next to the name of your page. This will allow you to share your page in a post with people.

The sharing action will thus come from your personal Google+ profile, not from the Google+ Page. For instance, let’s say Jaana has a page for her blog +Gplus Expertise. If her profile spreads the word, the people shared to will see the update as coming from Jaana, not from the page.

Post updates frequently and keep your profile fresh – People are more likely to engage with a page that contains fresh posts and a complete profile.  Use images, videos and don't link-bomb without an intro in the post.  Create a unique hashtag for your business and use 3-4 hashes in every post, in one line at the bottom.

+Charlotte Pierce gave good advice on a Google+ post comment:
Link your YouTube channel to your business page and verify it. Upload videos and/or run hangouts and introduce them on G+ as your business page. Comment on the postings with your personal profile so that your business page picks up some of the cachet and reputation of your personal profile. 
Be transparent about this; make sure people know that you're connected to the business page. Plus-mention yourself with business page and vice-versa.

More tips for the business page owner

Understanding Google+ Dashboard for business Pages:

Google+ Dashboard is a powerful tool for Google+ Page owners and managers to leverage their online presence.

Dashboard is also the Google+ entry point for local business owners to manage verify and edit their business listing, learn how customers find their business on Google, and promote their business with Offers and Adwords Express.

To access the Google+ Dashboard:
Choose Pages from the left hand Google+ menu ribbon or visit http://plus.google.com/dashboard.

From here, you can choose to Create a Page or manage an existing Google+ Page by clicking Manage this page.

- Google+ Help & Support

I've added a very useful Google+ post from +Ryan Hanley with five actions for every day to grow your Google+ business page.  This is what he suggests:

1) I would take an old blog post and share it using all the proper formatting and explaining as to why this was an article worth reading... I DID NOT LINK DUMP. If don't know what I'm talking about watch this video on how to properly share on Google Plus...
2) I would work my way through my feed of people I've circled, made up of industry professionals and local people and businesses I've found. I'd +1 and comment on articles I thought we could add value to.
3) I'd do the same thing in a few local Google+ Communities and two small business communities I really like.
4) I'd take best one or two articles I found and reshare them to my own feed or a communities feed if I thought that was more appropriate.
5) I'd respond to any comments or notifications from Mr. Jingles.

Why would you wish to create a business Page on Google+?

There is a ton of articles written about the topic. The main outcome is: SEO and SERP.
Having an active Google+ page helps in getting more visibility in the Google search. For free.

Google Plus aids in SEO Strategy
Google Plus also aids small businesses in SEO or search engine optimization practices, because companies can put trending keywords into their posts. Google has made it possible for Google Plus to be searchable, so this will help raise search engine ranking for all types of businesses.
The business owners can also use Google Plus to add photos, videos and other valuable content to their postings. Unlike Twitter, they have much more leeway as to how much info can be published and aren’t, for instance, limited to a mere handful of characters that causes it to be hard to keyword the data they need to get out to their customers.
All in all, this makes Google Plus a vital tool for all businesses, especially the small business owners who need a method that lets them better compete with their larger competitors.


Help for beginners: Creating a Google+ Page

Read more and get helpful links from Google  and YouTube

YouTube and Google+ Integration tips for Pages in a blog by Top Contributor +Peggy K

How about it: Google+ profile or a page?

5 Google+ promotion strategies for your business

Google+ Communities vs. Business Pages

Add a badge to your website - Google Developers

Google Webmaster tools

Do you have a brick-and-mortar Local business? A very good website with helpful articles is the Local University:
How should you market your Local Google+ page

More about Places and Local:

Would you like to add something? What are your best tips for promoting a business page? 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Circles and Communities: Communication on Google+

I use my circles and the following of profiles feature for:

A. Getting interesting content in my Home stream, no matter if the ones I follow have circled me or not, unless they only post to "circles".  I don't expect anyone to circle me back.

B. I have a lot of Finns (nearly a thousand) in one large circle which I also use for posting in Finnish.  On my Finnish page +Gplussa .  I have bite-sized circles of several thousand Finns for circle sharing purposes so that newcomers may find people to interact with, in their own language.

C.  Communities have replaced Circles in many ways:  Starting a community and engaging with people around a certain topic does not count towards the 5000 limit.  I own a Finnish "Suomi" community with 20 categories about all sorts of things and an English language "Google+ Helper" community which is all about Google+, with categories of helpful posts for Goobies and old hands alike.

Community posts in my Home stream enrich my Google+ experience and helps me focus on topics I wish to see and learn about. The subscription circles are a good way to get notifications from those profiles or pages you wish to hear from the most.

How do you communicate?
Do you post in Public or to your Circles only, or a mix of the two?


Communities and circles are two different things

When you post something in a Public community, those posts can be seen by all the members in that community and also by anyone who checks the community, or searches for something on Google+ or Google and you post comes up in the search.  Only community members can comment or share community posts, the non-members can only give Plusones to the posts.

If you have chosen to show the community posts on your profile, anyone looking at your profile will see those Public community posts.

How ever if people in your circles are not members of the community, they don't see those posts in their home stream. Only if they look at your profile or the community itself.

If the members have Community notifications on they will get an alert every time someone posts in a community, no matter what relationship they have with the members of the said community.
If they have chosen to receive posts from that community in their Home stream, they will see some of the community posts if they are members. Circles don't come into this at all.

Do you have to respond to all the interactions, all the time?

I'd say it all depends on the line you take on different social media platforms.
And on the amount of people following you.

Why do you Tweet or post on FB or Google+?
Which platform do you prefer and why?

I shared a link to +Peter G McDermott article and the post received very interesting comments, take a look:

The shares of this post have good intros too:  I do like this one from +Armida Evony:

I believe the reason people follow other people on G+ is to find engagement, courtesy and interesting content, not necessarily in that order. Obviously there are exceptions, if someone is a high level Google executive they can post the most boring pictures in the universe with one line of text, and will get a zillion plusses. Why? No idea. Maybe because they think he will increase their Google Influence score or something? Good luck with that. 

In my opinion, engaging with your followers and treating everybody with equal courtesy (except obvious trolls who should be consistently blocked), is just as important as posting interesting stuff. And if you drop the ball and start ignoring people that you used to engage with, they will wander off. Rightly so.

My Twitter is mostly for sharing information.  That's a choice I've made.
I reply to questions but not to retweets on mentions.  It's like thanking everyone separately for giving your post a +1: That I don't do either.

I do like to connect and engage on Google+ as there are no 140 character limits:
Sometimes replying to a question or a comment on Twitter becomes ridiculous and very bad language! :-)

Facebook...  Well:  My friends are not into the same topics as I am.
Scuba, nature / flower photography or Google+.
The best response I get from a FB post is when I post a photo of myself - say what?

As a shy Finn that's not what I want to do often...

Google+ is my favourite way and place of engaging. It's my window to the world.

What do you think:
Are your experiences or strategies different from mine?

Don't ruin the Internet!

I read a great article from +Chris Jenkins and had to pinch this bit:
Do you want to have an audience of a million people who ignore everything you say that isn’t about how to get an audience of a million people? 

If you said yes, congratulations! You’re a Social Media “Expert”! If instead, you actually want an audience that’s interested in you, your product, or your service, then you need to avoid these people and their “systems” like the plague. Real fans come from you putting a real message out there, not participating in mass forward and link share schemes, and real fans are actually interested in what you’re sharing.

The difference between real fans and contrived social media follows is why I can have as many plusses, likes, comments, and shares on a post as someone with twenty times my audience size; the people who follow me are, for the most part, actually interested in what I have to say.
Do read the whole article:  Social Media “Experts”: Please stop ruining social media

More good reading:

Become a great Google+ Community member by +Paul Maplesden

15 people ruining social media by +Marc Ensign

What I Learned On The Way To 3 Million Google+ Circles by +Mike Elgan

Online audiences of value are earned, not gotten by +David Kutcher

Shared circles and circle tips on Google+ by +Jaana Nyström

How to attract an audience on Google+ by +Gplus Expertise 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Tools and apps for Google+ and social media

This topic needed updating:
Thanks to +Mervik Haums I got around doing it.
His original post is here.

I'm so glad that we get these third-party tools in social media, they make our life much easier.
A huge hand to the Devs!
Especially useful if one manages several accounts / pages / social media platforms, like I do...

Let's take a look at the tools I use

+Circloscope  and  +CircleCount are the ones I've been using since Beta, could not live without them. Different functions but very necessary.

+Do Share for Chrome is great because one can schedule posts to a personal profile.
I love the possibility to create a new post of a comment in any post, the original post with all the comments stays with the new post.
Also saves drafts.

+Buffer  and Bufferapp for Chrome: A lifesaver!
For stats also from G+ and other platforms: link clicks, shares, likes, retweets, +1's etc
Every day in heavy use for creating, scheduling and organizing most of my social media posts for G+ Pages, Facebook profile and pages, Twitter and LinkedIn. Client accounts, too.  Brilliant tool.

+RebelMouse displays my G+ and other social media posts: (gifs work!)
Easy to link to and share around.

+Scoop.it in every day use, mainly for manual curation. The best stuff only:

+Hangout Toolbox+Comment Tracker  and Google Drive app for hangouts, are essential.

+All my +  for checking stats:

 +NOD3x  or business data mining about Google+

+gplusrss.com for my Page's RSS feeds in blogs etc

+Plusses to display my Google+ posts in a blog format:
Easy to share outside the Plus...

The excellent G+ tools by developer  +Jari Huomo, a fellow Finn

- Change your own G+ ID into the links and see the magic happen!
(Find your Google+ ID: right click on a post's timestamp, copypaste the URL and then copy the 21-digit number)

Photoboxing the most popular images from any profile or page, great way to share outside G+:

Your photos as thumbnails, Pinterest style:
- you may change the width too from the end.

Your posts as a timeline, from old to new, most popular etc:

Your hashtag posts in a timeline, here with #Jaanatip
- Change the G+ ID and hashtag text to the end

The most active Finnish G+ users:

NOTE:  Google still has the limited API calls, so if you get a blank page, try again tomorrow with your own G+ ID number.

Google tools

Google Calendar / Gmail for scheduling / inviting clients to Hangouts, YouTube for Hangouts on Air,  Drive for sharing and storing, Blogger for my blogs with Google+ comments...

Did I miss something?  Would you like to recommend another tool for making Google+ and social media work better and work together?

Check your own permissions for apps and extensions!  Delete when unnecessary.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Subscribe to your Google+ Circles

I have circled many people whose posts I never want to miss. To make sure I get to read all they write, I have created a few Notification Circles.  Many profiles are in several circles and I should perhaps clean them up, but as the final maximum I can have in my circles or 5000 is not affected by these "double appearances", I haven't bothered.  The main thing is to gather all the most interesting peeps or Pages in one or two circles, "with bells on"!

To control the volume of each of your circles you can go to your Home page and then click open each of the circles listed in the More drop down:

Choose how much you can see from each circle in your Home stream: 
The bell is for notifications, if you click it on, every post from the circle will send you a notification.
Unchecking the "Show posts in Home stream" mutes the circle - no posts shown.

Now Google has made subscribing to circles easier

There is a new page where all your circles are displayed and you can subscribe to some or all of them.
Word of warning!
Do not subscribe to all of them, as each post will create a notification under +Mr. Jingles and perhaps also send an email, depending on your settings.  You will very soon be inundated in notifications!

To undo the subscription you can either visit each circle individually and click on the bell or just visit the subscription page and click the red "Notifications on" again to unsubscribe.

I recommend you choose carefully the people you place in a subscription circle.  Keep it small.

If you haven't yet been shown this page when logging in to Google+, follow this link to get to the subscription page!  Or log out and log back in.  The feature is rolling out slowly.

I don't know if this is a glitch on this page or meant:  When you are hovering over a thumbnail image of a profile, there is no way to change circles from the hovercard like it normally is.  The checkboxes are missing.  Only happens on this page.

I hope this new feature page means that we are one step closer to being able to control all our circle volumes in one place...  Pretty please, Google?

More about Google+ Circles
Having trouble adding people to circles?
Allow your Circles to Hangout with you
Circloscope circle management tool

This post is really not relevant, but I wanted you to read it anyway! :-)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Plusone highlights and why you should make them private on Google+

I have been studying and researching the topic for a long time now.
What seemed like a great idea in the beginning has really lost its taste for countless users.

I don't know it it's the legacy of Facebook and the fact that the human animal wants to learn about things from the people he trusts? And mostly about the things he's interested in?
I'd rather join a Community with like-minded people...

The behaviour of people's plussing after this update has changed drastically: Lots less interaction on posts.
It certainly affected my behaviour.  I cut my plusones to a minimum.  That is not good for a platform that has been criticized of being a Ghost Town with no users.

I stopped giving +1's to most of the posts

Instead, I started to analyze all those posts and to think if I'd like them to be shared to all my followers. I know that Google+ doesn't share ALL of them, but I have no way of knowing which will be spread out there and which will not!  So my scuba diving, golfing and gardening peeps have suffered as I've only given +1's to my main topic or Google+ related stuff.

For instance this image / post above, which I added as an example: (Sorry!)

 What do I learn from it, how does it make my Google+ experience richer?  Our family has been sharing photos on Google+ since 2011.  Those who haven't or are new to G+ still don't know the best way to do it.

There is no tip or advice, it's not funny or instructive, it doesn't make me think; just a fairly silly gif and an announcement. So what? Why do I need to see this on my home stream, a post from someone I already have in my circles?

Just because I follow +Bradley Horowitz in case he announces something important about Google+...  Nope.  (I do follow Bradley for other reasons too :-)

I'm sorry Google, this is not working as you guys intended. Not for me.

So many people told me in private posts that they will uncircle me unless I opt out.
Countless people actually did, sometimes I could see the results of my day's +1 actions on the +CircleCount  as a downward minus. I guess this feature had the opposite effect than was hoped for?

Good idea but half-baked, we should be able to check a box on those posts that we'd like to be highlighted.
I did listen to all of you who told me so, but I needed to see myself, over a longer period.

How to opt out

Go to your Google+ settings and choose Apps & activities then click on manage:

Then modify the viewing:  You can also just add a circle here.

Since I opted out a couple of weeks ago, I've felt liberated! 
Now I can plusone freely all those posts that I like and those that I wish to encourage, without second thoughts.

Same with my business Pages.
I tried but it didn't work for me, sorry +Google+ 

I wish that the user could choose whether to see the +1 highlights or not, then the plussing could go on...

Are you still using this feature? How is it working for you?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Google+ Events - updates

EDIT 20.12.2013:
Looks like the old comment stream is back...
Perhaps the new one still needs tweaking.

* * *

There have been some significant changes to the visibility of comments in the Events.
This is certainly not warmly embraced by +Ronnie Bincer as you can see from the comments in the embedded post...  :-)  Here is the Event link where I did some tests. Sorry Ronnie!

As in any post one can now add photos or videos as a comment inside an Event.  The comment you make is created into a Google+ post.  When the post is shown in your profile stream, there is a link on top that takes people to the Event in Question.

Now when you comment inside an event, the comment is just like any post:

You can choose who sees your comment, just like in a regular Google+ post:

Even though this new feature seems to disrupt the flow of the comments inside the Event, we can't deny that this will boost the Events in all the commenters streams.
More unwanted stuff from the people you follow or a good way to see some interesting Events coming up?  I wish there was a check box like in YouTube, for not sharing the comment outside the Event...

Hopefully users soon learn to comment as in creating a separate post, or it will look strange, seeing very disjointed posts.

404 error on the original post

The post that appears in our profile streams has the share arrow, but when we look at the comment inside the Event, sharing is not possible from there.  Even when clicking at the time stamp of the comment post, it gives a 404 error.  Same with reshares, there's no way to click open the original post unless clicking on the image - nor does it say that the reshare is from an Event comment.  But of course one can see the reshared post, just not click through to the original.

Even when copying the "link to post" from under the drop down arrow in the post, the results are a 404 error page with the link.  I wonder if this is a glitch or meant?

Adding photos to comments: On or off

When you post a photo with your comment, it is added to the Event photos folder.
Now this may be a very bad thing if we think of spammers.  Sharing a link is also possible.
The Event owner should have the possibility to delete a comment, right? At the moment, wrong...
Luckily there is an option to disable the photos and videos from an Event.

This is not new, but did you know that when you click on "View all photos" in an Event, you can also look at them in various ways:  By popularity or even by photographer.

When you have Photos feature enabled in an Event, people can share their photos or even albums inside the Event as comments and those are also posted to their profile.  Good for Photowalk Events with loads of photos taken, as they get more coverage.

Let's see what the future brings

The good thing is, that now there can be sub-comments and replies to my original comment!
Earlier it was a bit difficult to follow a line of discussion within an Event.

I wonder if the Event organizer still sees a comment even though it's a private share?
Possibly not. But then no-one can see it...  Defeats the purpose of commenting inside an Event if you don't wish the participants to see it. 
(No, the owner cannot see a comment shared privately.)
Perhaps we could get a "Share only with the Event participants" check box?

More #JaanaResearch coming up! :-)  I'll be updating this post as new info comes along.

+Gerwin Sturm reported that on mobile there's nothing that tells the viewer that the post is actually an Event comment. Hmm.

+John Elstone tells us that when creating an Event one can turn off videos and pictures.

Another suggestion from +Gerwin Sturm for Event owners who don't want lots of post comments:
This way the Comment Tracker app can be used in Hangouts on Air when there is just one post inside the Event where people comment on, using the Event's URL.

You as the owner make one post/comment in the event, then disable comments on the event, but people are still able to comment on your own post which appears in the event together with all comments.  
Also as the creator of the event you can add new posts even with commenting disabled. But people are still able to comment on all the posts you create unless you disable commenting on those posts like you can for all posts.  
Depending on the event you can even make several posts covering different topics to structure the discussion yourself over different posts.

More about Google+ Events

What do you think, is this a good or a bad update?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Google+ Photos Auto Backup now in Picasa

Updates and changes, some good and some really bad.  Why did the Photos team have to remove the Creative Kit photo editor first from Google+ and now from Picasa?

Couldn't the (to me useless) Snapseed thingy be used in mobile Google+ apps only?
There are still some people who actually use a camera instead of a mobile device for shooting photos. Not all have Photoshop, either...  Well, back to the Gimp.

New in Picasa - December 12, 2013

  • Picasa now includes Google+ Auto Backup for the Desktop.
  • Updates to RAW support to include newer cameras.
  • Patches to image handling. 
  • Updated file size limits for uploads: 50 MB or 100 MP.
  • "Edit in Creative Kit" function has been removed. (Oh why? Pity!)

Here are some questions and answers from Google:

How do I download Auto Backup for Mac or Windows?

Google+ Auto Backup is bundled with the latest version of Picasa for Windows and Mac. Current Picasa users will need to update their client to access the new feature.

Why is Picasa using Google+ to back up my photos? 

Since Picasa 3.9, we've made it easy for Picasa users to share the right photos with the right people with just a few clicks on Google+, so this isn't the first time Google+ and Picasa have worked together. Picasa users will now have the option to backup their photos safely and privately to Google Photos.

This is an opt-in feature and only photos that you explicitly select will be backed up to Google Photos. You can disable this feature at any time.

Why is this branded as Google+ Auto Backup when I need to be a Picasa user to use it?

Auto Backup is a Google+ feature that is available across iOS, Android and now via Picasa on Mac and Windows. Picasa users who have a large number of photos on their hard drives will find this feature handy for backup to the cloud. All photos uploaded through Google+ Auto Backup will default to private in Google+, so you can decide what actions to take once they are backed up to Google+.

What photos from Auto Backup for Mac and Windows are shared on Google+?

Just like Auto Backup for Android and iOS, your photos and videos backed up to Auto Backup for Mac and Windows are defaulted to private and are for your eyes only until you choose to share them on Google+.

Can I choose which folders on my desktop are backed up?

Select individual folders or whole directories to back up, and you can choose whether or not to automatically back-up photos and videos from SD cards/devices you plug into your computer.

How will my photos be organized once they’re uploaded?

Once your photos have been uploaded, they will appear along with other Auto Backup photos. We’ll arrange them by date in the Highlights section of Google+ Photos, and you can search #desktop in Photos Search to easily find all of the photos that you’ve backed up through your desktop.

What happens to photos/videos I delete from Auto Backup?

Deleting a picture backed up to Google+ will not affect copies of the picture on your desktop or SD card.

Do the photos and videos I upload through Auto Backup count against my Google storage limit?

If you choose to upload your photos and videos at full size, those files will count towards your Google storage quota (everyone gets 15GB for free). You can also choose to upload unlimited photos and videos at standard size (2048px photos and 1080p videos up to 15 minutes long) for free with no limit on storage.

When are you releasing an uploader for Google+ users?

We don't have anything to share about a standalone uploader app for Mac or Windows. This existing feature is available to all Google+ users if they download Picasa.

If you have any questions that require Picasa expertise, check out the Picasa Forum for Picasa-specific support.

Here is a comment from a Picasa Top Contributor in the Forum:

The way Google presents auto backup to us Picasa users is confusing, because we are used to having folders or albums "Synced to the Web" which means we put selected photos in an album and upload it to Web Albums to share with people. These photos can be edited in Picasa and the changes will "Sync" (Be propagated to the web albums).

Google+ Auto Backup is a completely different animal. It takes all our original photos as we acquire them or put them into folders that are being Auto Backed up and uploads them to a PRIVATE archive location in our Google+ account. After that it never messes with, changes, or deletes them, they are meant as a true backup in case of disaster.  If we edit and save or save a copy of one of these photos, auto backup may upload another copy of that photo, but it never changes or deletes the original, it makes a separate copy.

I don't really agree with the idea of automatically installing it with Picasa though, I think we should be told what it is and then asked if we want it in addition to Picasa because they are really not connected.

Basically, Google+ Auto Backup was originally an attempt by Google to address the problem of people never making backups to their photos and then having a disk crash. It really started with the smart phone crowd. I do think Auto Backup is a useful thing, particularly for the smartphone crowd.  They don't have a viable way to backup photos locally, and they are always losing their phone or flushing it down the toilet or...
They also get tired of the clutter and erase pictures etc. and change phones or carriers. Especially for that crowd there is not going to be much editing either.

For the Dedicated Picasa people though, it's a little harder to make the case, because a lot of us are into Photography. It isn't just a few family snapshots. We play with the photos a lot more and they are probably more precious to us.  We are going to want backups and want to have personal possession of the backups.  Even if we did use G+ Auto Backup, it would be a way of having the photos offsite in case of disaster. In other words as a backup to our primary backup. G+ Auto Backup was probably not really intended for us but for the casual photographer as a way of saving them from themselves.

I hope Google has some big servers, because auto backup for the masses is going to be a BUNCH of Terabytes.


More about the Auto backup for desktops

Picasa Help center - loads of information and advice

Download Picasa - Organize, edit, and share your photos

Good post with tips:  How to delete Auto backup photos

Google+ Photos update: Browse your photo highlights by date

From Googler +Jon Moon:
To help you find your photos even faster, we’re adding a drop-down calendar to “Highlights” that lets you jump straight to the year and month you’re looking for. To give it a try, just visit plus.google.com/photos on the desktop, and hover over the date at the top right of the page.

What do you use to edit your photos?

Read more about Google+ Photos: Updates, tips and tutorials