It seems apropos to start the 30 Days With Google+ journey at the beginning. Google+ has an estimated 25 million or so users right now, but it is still operating in an invitation-only “field trial”. So, I managed to get an invitation, now what?
When I received the email invitation to join Google+, I got started by clicking the prominent red button that says “Join Google+”. That took me to a page declaring, “Welcome to the Google+ project.”
On the right side of the page I found a box with my first and last name pre-populated. I have seen all of the media coverage of the controversy over real names vs. pseudonyms, and I know that Google frowns upon the use of pseudonyms, so I just left my name the way it was. Honestly, I don’t really use pseudonyms, so I would have left my name anyway.
Below my name, I selected my gender, and added a photo to use for my Google+ profile. Then, I came across a checkbox option that read “Google may use my information to personalize content and ads on non-Google web sites.”
Clicking on the little question mark next to this text, I found out that it is related to the increasingly ubiquitous Google +1 system. The +1 system is designed to deliver tailored content and ads based on your Google profile, your own +1 activity, and your social connections.
Google stresses that information is not exposed to third-party sites. Rather, Google acts as the middleman in order to share your +1 activity with others in your social network and vice versa. Basically, I don’t have to allow this behavior, but if I don’t I won’t see the sites or resources that my friends have recommended using Google’s +1.
Fine. I chose to allow the behavior, so I clicked the checkbox.
Under that checkbox text, there is a blurb from Google reminding me that this is a limited Field Trial. Google explains, “Things may not always work as intended. By using this product in Field Trial stage, you’re responsible for protecting yourself and your data from any risks, including data loss or disclosure. By signing up, you also agree that we may contact you to ask for feedback about the product.”
Fair enough. I clicked the big red “Join” button, and officially joined the ranks of the Google+ elite.
I was then greeted with a Google+ welcome page. It had explanations at the top with video clips to illustrate what Circles, Hangouts, and Sparks are all about. I’ll dive deeper into those things another day.
Below that was a section titled “Complete your profile.” I clicked the button to fill in missing information and complete my profile. I added a Tagline–because I want everyone who visits my Google+ profile to see how witty I am. The Tagline defaults to being shared with “Anyone on the web” and can’t be changed.
Employment and education data, however, can be filtered. Completing this information now, though, seems out of order because it wants me to establish which Circles can see my private data before I even understand what the Circles are, or have any set up. For now, I choose to share this information with my Circles–assuming that I won’t mind sharing my employment and education information with whomever I choose to add to those Circles when I get to that part.
OK. I am now signed up for Google+, and my profile is complete. At this point, though, I am a Google+ island with no social network. Next, I need to figure out the whole Circles thing and start adding some contacts.