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.
Google offers a few different ways to get directly to Google+. These URLs all work, and will take you directly to your Google+ stream if you're logged in.
- http://plus.google.com/me - This will take you directly to your own profile if you are logged into your Google account.
Google+ profiles are not very easy to link to, as your unique identifier is basically a long string of numbers. To make things easier on yourself, several sites have arisen where you can claim a vanity URL. Instead of sending people to https://plus.google.com/117751549758275478700 (which is my profile), you can send people to shorter links like http://gplus.to/yourname.
Generally, it works in a few simple steps:
- Enter the user name or nickname that you want people to use.
- Enter your Google+ unique identifier. It's the long string of numbers right after http://plus.google.com/.
- Click on the Create or Enter button.
There are several different places where you can obtain vanity URLs. Note that none of these sites are endorsed or affiliated with Google.
- http://zipl.us/ - This one has a few extra features. You can create an RSS feed for your public Google+ posts, and also install a Chrome extension that lets you take the Google+ bar with you while you're browsing.
If you haven't already, check out my lists of people to follow: Google insiders, Google's Community Managers, authors, photographers, and celebrities. You'll find many interesting people to include in your circles. If you're looking for even more people, there are a lot of websites eager to help you find your match.
- FindPeopleonPlus - Over 4 million Google+ users indexed, and you can search for members in a variety of different ways. Sort by relationship, gender, number of followers, occupation, and location. If you want, you can add yourself to their directory.
- Google+ Counter - Created by +Ralf Rottman. The front page shows you profile pictures of the Google+ "Hall of Fame", which are Google+'s most followed profiles. Currently it monitors over 30,000 profiles. You can add your own, or create your own curated lists of Google+ members. Remember that all lists you create are public, and can be accessed by anyone. Notably, this site also maintains a list of top followed women on Google+.
- GPeep - Lets you find people by tags, locations, and jobs.
- Group.as - Maintains lists of different groups of people on Google+, such as celebrities, photographers, and bloggers. If you feel someone's missing, just add their Google user ID and select the group they belong to and hit submit. You can go to All Groups to view every category listed, from artists to Xbox players.
- PlusOnes.in - Manually curated lists of Google+ profiles by groups and companies.
- Recommended Users - Beautifully designed site from +Alireza Yavari. These are unofficial lists of Google+ users by groups such as web celebrities, journalists, and artists. These lists are curated, and if you have suggestions for people to add, you can do so here.
- Share This Circle - Repository of interesting circles to follow. Add your own circles.
- Social Statistics - One of the first sites to start tracking Google+ users. It currently gathers statistics on the most popular users and posts, and tracks over 40,000 members.
- Women of G+ - Highlights the many women who are already on Google+.
Last week, we discussed 9 different ways you can use hangouts. What I didn't realize was exactly how much further you can take the hangout concept. Check out this short list of what people have been doing with hangouts:
- +Samantha Meeker worked on a painting.
- +Thomas Stromberg used hangouts to monitor his daughter's crib and preserve some precious memories.
- +Mary Robinette Kowal has been hosting a lot of great workshops in her hangouts.
- +Lee Allison decided to start a G+ Cooking School using hangouts. He's also recorded the stream and posted the first video on his website.
A few sites have popped up that track public hangouts.
- gphangouts - Shows you when hangouts are started and scheduled, and recently added Google Calendar integration. You can submit your own hangouts via the web form, or a bookmarklet.
- HangoutOnGplus - Wants to be the longest hangout ever. As of this post, it's lasted almost nine days. If you want to participate, keep in mind that it's live, and you can be seen by anyone on the web.
- HangoutParty - Will promote and stream your hangout. There's a chat sidebar that people can participate in.
+Matt Steiner announced the implementation of a popular requested feature - the ability to edit the title of your photo album in Google+. All you have to do is go to Photos > My Albums > Album and then click on the name of the album to edit it.
If you have photos stored on other services and want to move them all over to Google+, there are a few workarounds and sites to help you do so.
- Instaport - Exports your Instagram photos into a handy zip file. From there you can upload them to your Google+ account.
- Migratr - Does not support Google+ Photos directly, but it can help you copy your photos over to Picasa. This desktop application supports a lot of photo services, including Flickr, Photobucket, SmugMug, and more.
- Move Your Photos - Links to add-ons for Firefox and Chrome in order for you to download your Facebook albums and import them to Google+.
- Pick&Zip - Lets you download your Facebook photos into a zip or PDF file.
If you are a professional artist or photographer, you'll want to follow +Cora Reed's advice on changing the settings in Picasa to prevent downloads of your images.
+Ryan Estrada was frustrated with the way Google+ Photos was not organizing his photos, so he whipped up a quick little tutorial for his solution:
For more tips, make sure to check out my previous posts. If you think I've missed something, please feel free to contact me or post in the comment section below. I'll be sure to include it in the next update.