Google+ Insider's Guide Features

News: Should Kids Be Allowed to Use Facebook and Google+?

It's a question I've been pondering a lot lately. Technically, children under the age of 13 are not allowed to join Facebook. But according to a Consumer Reports in May, 7.5 million children 12 and younger are already on the site. Currently, federal law prohibits websites from collecting personal data from children without parental permission. The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, as it is more commonly known, has been in effect since 1998, but has not been updated since.

News: Do Cats & Boobs Belong on Google+?

While using Google+, it's been apparent that there are two types of posters. There are the people who post thoughtful, serious posts about everything from tech to dealing with cancer. And then there are the meme propagators, the people who decide to rick roll others (ahem, +Bryan Crow), and constantly put up animated gifs. Sometimes they are the same people, and this is where it gets a little controversial.

How To: Enhance Your Photos in Google+

Like Facebook, Google+ is a great platform for sharing and viewing photographs. Many talented photographers have already uploaded their portfolios, and in addition to easy album sharing, Google+ offers something Facebook does not—simple editing features for enhancing your photos upon uploading. Below, how to instantly upload via smartphone, plus a quick run through of the basic editing tools available.

Google+ Pro Tips Round Up: Week 4

Last week, I demonstrated how to go a little deeper into your Google+ profiles, photos, and introduced cross-posting. This week, I'm highlighting a bunch of different unofficial resources that have sprung up that will help improve your Google+ experience, and give you the latest updates on Google+ Photos.

News: Welcome to the Google+ Insider's Guide!

Google+ is the most exciting new social network to come around this decade, and the only product with a chance of challenging the monopolies we know as Facebook and Twitter. As an Internet addict, I've joined every major social network there is - from Friendster (who?) to MySpace (so ugly) to LinkedIn (yawn) to Twitter (irritating) and Facebook (annoying to manage). Competition is delicious, especially between well-financed monopolies. Google+ really seems to have identified an Achille's heel...

News: Fix Your Google+ Frustrations with 18 More Chrome Extensions

Antimatter15, author of the popular Surplus Chrome extension, was suspended from Google+ for using a pseudonym instead of a name that fits Google's community standards. As such, he's no longer supporting the extension, and if you're using it, now might be a good time to find a replacement. It's a reminder that nothing on the web is guaranteed to work forever. Luckily, there's no shortage of innovative coders whipping up creative and useful Google Chrome extensions.

Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 1

With the Google+ team members being generous and free-flowing with advice on some of the more advanced features of Google+, we'll be publishing a weekly summary of the latest pro tips. Chances are, if you've been following the Google+ team members, you've seen some of these already but you don't have them all in one handy place.

News: The Top 32 Authors to Follow on Google+

Google+ isn't filled with just Google workers and tech-obsessed nerds. Many creative people are part of the community, and they're using Google+ to connect with their fans. Authors, especially, love talking to people about their work. We've rounded up the best published authors for you to follow on Google+. We've listed their best known works so that you can get an idea of the topics they write about.

How To: Manage Your Google+ Circles Without Going Crazy

Circles. They are both the best thing and worst thing about Google+. They're great because they allow you to fine-tune who you're following and who you want to keep in touch with, making it easy to keep your family and friends separate from each other. On the other hand, they can be a pain to maintain, and you can easily become overwhelmed from the "noise" of popular posts, which make it hard to concentrate on some of the people you want to focus on. But if you invest a little bit of time in ...

News: 15 Brilliant Google+ Female Photographers to Circle

In a previous article where I suggested 104 photographers to follow on Google+, I received a lot of criticism because over 90% of the listed photographers were men. While women are currently not a majority on Google+, they are a definite presence, and they are active. Today, I highlight the best female photographers I've found on Google+ so far. This time I'm taking a slightly different approach. Since the best way to get to know photographers is through their work, I've included one photo fo...

News: The First (Real) Celebrities Arrive on Google+

One of the coolest things about Twitter is the fact that you can get direct access to some of your favorite celebrities, and have one-on-one conversations with them in less than 140 characters. With Google+, you can have the same advantage, but you don't need to feel constricted by the 140 character limit. Although Google+ has been weeding out fake accounts, they do not currently have a system for celebrities to verify whether their accounts are legitimate or not.

News: Google+ Pro Tips Weekly Round Up: Refining Sharing

One of the primary goals of a social network is for you to share what you find interesting with your followers and friends, but on Google+, sharing has so many layers that it can be confusing for most people to really take advantage of it properly. Some of the tools in place that enable you do deal with spam and manage your privacy aren't very clear, so this week's round up is all about how you can share what you want with who you want on Google+.

News: Facebook Takes Cues From Google+ and Adds Better Privacy Controls

After the launch of Google+ and its ensuing attendant fanfare and rave reviews, Facebook seemed to undergo an identity crisis. On July 6th, Facebook failed to make waves with its "awesome" announcement - the new group chat and video chat features felt lame in comparison to the Google+ hangout and huddle features. Facebook also faced ongoing criticism for its perceived lack of privacy controls. Over on Quora, workers confirmed a lockdown of sorts at Facebook, for employees to work harder on fe...

News: Steve Jobs and His Legacy

I was working on a different Google+ Insider's Guide post when suddenly, my Google+ stream started filling up with news of Steve Jobs' death. Since that moment, many people in the tech industry have paused to reflect on the legacy that Steve Jobs left behind, and talk about what his vision meant for the rest of the industry, and for them personally. There's no tech sector that was untouched by Steve Jobs' influence, and that includes Google.

Google+ Pro Tips Round Up: Week 8

It's been an eventful week for Google+. Facebook decided to up its game and start rolling out several major updates intended to address privacy concerns. We got a glimpse into the future of Google+ via an insightful discussion between +Bradley Horowitz and +Tim O'Reilly. And Google decided to integrate the +1 button more fully with Google+ by allowing users to share directly from the +1 button. That's not all, though—scroll down for more news & updates that occurred in the past week.

News: Photographer Brings Google+ to the Real World with Photowalk

In a gesture to bring the social qualities of Google+ into the real world, photographer +Trey Ratcliff invited his Google+ followers to join him on a photowalk this past Thursday, held on the Stanford University campus. Over 150 people showed up to take pictures with fellow Googlers and Google+ users, and to socialize in "real life". This group photo was taken by professional photographer +Peter Adams.

News: Google+ Pro Tips Weekly Round Up: Google+ Breaks News

Increasingly, I'm turning to Google+ as a source of news, and it looks like I'm not the only one. On Thursday, news of a small earthquake broke on both Twitter and Google+. One curious user, +Keith Barrett, decided to try and find out which social network was faster with the news. Turns out it was a tie. As Google integrates Google+ more closely with the rest of its services, and more users post relevant stories, I think we'll start to see Google+ as a place that can create and break stories,...

Google+ Pro Tips Round-Up: Week 3

Now that you can invite anyone you want to Google+, the floodgates are open. If you've been bummed out about not being able to share the joys of Google+ with your friends and acquaintances, make use of that handy envelope icon the right side of your stream page. Just enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite, and hit the "Invite" button.