|Patricia Van Skaik|
Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton Co.
Many genealogists/bloggers immediately recognized it's ease of use and set about inviting members of the genealogy community to join their "circles." As a member of the facebook community, I know that my genealogy friends may not find it interesting to read about how the potty training is going with my grandson. On the other hand, other "friends" may be bored to tears with my latest genealogical breakthrough. The "circles" feature in google+ enables you to easily separate all of your contacts into different groups. Contacts can be placed in one circle (i.e. family), or more than one circle (i.e.family, bloggers, etc.) You are free to set up as many circles as you want and identify them with any tag that is meaningful to you. When it comes time to post a comment in your "stream" you can easily choose what circles or individuals you want to be able to see that post.
A second feature that I find particularly appealing is one called "hangout." It is similar to using skype. You click on the "hangout" function and you can have an online conversation with up to 10 people. You can decide if you want to use video, audio, text, or any combination. While in hangout mode, the person doing the speaking is in the center of the display with the other participants displayed below the speaker. The software will try to identify the speaker and switch to the speaker accordingly. You just have to be willing to play with it.
To that end, Pat Van Skaik, Liz Stratton and I met at the library to try out the technology with each other. We had a great time placing each other in circles, posting messages and using the hangout function while sitting in the same room. Pat, in her role as DigiGenie is in the process of writing an article about how google+ could work for the genealogy community. We'll post a link to her article after it is published.
So if you want to play, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll put you in one of my circles and send you an invitation to google+. We can hangout together. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.
For a better understanding of google+ and its features, go to this link: http://www.google.com/support/+/