Google+ Hands-on: What's new, How to invite friends?

Written by: Abdul Nisar
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Bangalore, Jul 1: Gotcha!!! I got a Google+ account! Seems like I am the luckiest person in the earth. Even though it was a busy day in office, I found time to experience the new features.

When I got the invitation from one of my friend, I got confused as it appeared just like a normal spam message. He had posted a picture and shared it with me, and the mail also had a banner "Learn more about Google+" with a link to Google+ website.

Before clicking on the link, I just read the message above the banner, "The Google+ project is currently working out all the kinks with a small group of testers. If you're not able to access Google+, please check back again soon." Bit confused, I clicked the link - I landed in Google+ site with "Create New Account" message.

Interestingly, Google fetched my image from the Google account and there I am smiling, but I opted for a new photo and uploaded it. Here, we can crop the image and if we want to add more spice to the photo, Google gives a third party image editor.

I uploaded the image, added Date of Birth and clicked 'Create Account' button. That's it. Now, I am a proud Google+ account holder.

Inside Google+:

Welcome!
The Google+ project makes sharing on the web feel like sharing in real life.

It was the first thing I read inside Google+. I just landed and get confused where to click. Being a Facebook obsessed man, I had the perception that this thing was not going to be as simple as Facebook. But cracking all my worries, it was so simple and neat.

There were three columns with Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. Google also gives a video guide for the beginners. If you have never heard of these three words, videos are your cup of tea.

How to add your friends?

Google unveiled the Google+ on Jun 29, but restricted its access. As it is still in Field Trial, Google offered limited users to experience the new features. And also, it rolled back the invitation feature just few hours after the launch due to "insane demand" and the company wants to do it "carefully and in a controlled way."

When I tried to add my friends manually, I got a reply, "Sending email invitations will be enabled soon!" So, what's next? Ok, if I don't have that feature, let me try some posting. I just uploaded an image and hit the share button, wah there I got the feature to share with my friends.

After clicking the Share button, I just entered my friends' email address. It worked, the post went exactly what I received as Google+ Invitation. Similarly, for our status updates, links, messages etc we can share it with Public, Circles and with selected friends through their Gmail email accounts.

Google+ Hangouts & Sparks:

The 'Hangouts' feature is superb. I did video conferencing or in Google's words 'Hanging Out' with my three friends simultaneously. It can be extended up to 10 friends. 'Sparks' is another interesting feature, where we can search for newsfeeds on a particular topic. If you are interested on Facebook, just type 'Facebook' and you will get all latest news on Facebook.

Still, I haven't used all features on Google+, but with my short experience I can say, it's too good. Here is my short and crisp verdict on Google+ - It Rocks! Surely you'll also become a great fan of it. Just try!

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