Thursday, 6 October 2011

How To Use Google+ A Beginners Guide - Part 1 Signing Up

Google+ is the new social network offering from Google.  This guide will show you how to get up and running in simple steps so you can try it out for yourself.  Over the next several posts we will explore all the best features of Google+ including circles - the heart of the application, hangouts - chat with multiple friends via streaming video, and the stream - where you can view all the posts from people in your circles.  So what are we waiting for, let's get started!

Step 1 - Sign up for a Google account

To join Google+ you must have a Google account.  If you have an account already you can skip this step and move on to step 2.  If you do not have a Google account we will sign up for one now.

Open your web browser and in the address bar type and then press the enter of return key.  See Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1

As you can see from the Google+ sign up page, see Figure 1-2, we have two choices, either sign in with your Google account of create a new account.

Figure 1-2

If you already have a Google account click the sign in button, see Figure 1-2, which will take you to the page below, see Figure 1-3.

Figure 1-3

Enter your e-mail address and password and click sign in, which will take you back to the Google+ join page, see Figure 1-4. You can now jump to step 2 while we go through the steps to sign up for a Google account for those who do not already have one. 

Figure 1-4

If you do not have a Google account click on the blue create an account link that you can see in Figure 1-2, this will take you to the Google accounts page, see Figure 1-5.

Figure 1-5

On the accounts page we need to fill in the required information to create our new Google account, in the current email address field enter the email address that you want to associate with your Google account, this could be a Hotmail, Yahoo email etc. 

Next in the password field enter your chosen password.  Please note that this is the password to sign into Google so do not use the same password that you use to sign into your existing email account.

In the re-enter password field enter your chosen password again. 

You can leave the two check boxes enabled or uncheck them if you like, the choice is yours.

In the get started with Google+ section enter your location by using the drop down list provided. 

In the birthday field enter your date of birth in the day, month, year format.

Next type the characters you see in the CAPTCHA picture into the word verification field.

Finally check the terms of service and if you agree click the I accept create my account button.

Your new Google account has been created, all we have to do now is verify the email address by clicking the verify by signing in at button, see Figure 1-6.  Your button may say something else if you used a different email like Hotmail.  Click the verify by signing in button.

Figure 1-6

Now sign into your email account by providing your email address that you just used to sign into Google and your password.  Please note that this time you use your email account password not the password that you just used to sign up to Google, see Figure 1-7.

Figure 1-7

Click the sign in button.

You are now prompted to agree to share your information with your Google account, see Figure 1-8.  Click the agree button.

Figure 1-8

Now you will be asked to verify your new Google account, see Figure 1-9.  If you are lucky enough not to see this page you should be at the Google+ join page, see Figure 1-4.  If you, like me, are now asked to verify your account by text message of voice call, pick one of the options then enter your telephone number into the telephone field and click the send verification code button.  You will receive a text message or voice call momentarily depending on your choice.

Figure 1-9

When you have received your verification code, see Figure 1-10 enter it into the verification field and click the verify button.

Figure 1-10

Now that we finally have our Google account set up we are ready to join Google+.

Step 2 - Joining Google+

The first thing that we must do is create a public profile, see Figure 1-11.  Enter your first and last name into the fields provided, this will update your name in other Google products like Google calendar and Google docs which you now have access to via your Google account.

Next pick your gender from the drop down list provided.

Add a photo of yourself if you like, don't worry if you do not have a one at hand as you can upload a one later, we will cover this in the next post, Filling In your Profile.

Figure 1-11

If you have a photo to hand, follow along as I will add one now.  Click the add your photo link.

Select one of the methods from the links on the left, see Figure 1-12, to find your photo.  I will choose upload and then click on the select a photo from your computer button.

Figure 1-12

Once you have chosen your photo you have the chance to crop your photo, moving the square to set the crop area of your picture.  Notice you can resize the square by dragging the corners and you can also rotate the picture but clicking the rotate icons located to the right of your profile picture.  When you are happy with your profile picture click the set as profile photo button. 

Figure 1-13

Now you are back on the join screen, see Figure 1-14, check or uncheck the Google may use my information check box.  You can click on the question mark icon to read more.  Now, click the join button.

Figure 1-14

We are now asked for some additional profile information, see Figure 1-15.  Fill in the fields with your information and click the continue button.

Figure 1-15

You can now find other people you may know in Google+ by searching your contacts in your Yahoo of Hotmail accounts, see Figure 1-16.  If you wish to take this step please click on the appropriate button.

Figure 1-16

I will skip this step and go straight to the Google picks page, see Figure 1-17.

On this page you can scroll down and pick people from entertainment, music, technology etc.  To add someone to your circles, hover over the add to circles button next to their picture, then check one of the boxes that appear as a pop up window, family, friend, following etc.  For now, if this does not make sense, you can put everyone into the following circle as we can sort them out later when we cover circles in depth in our third tutorial, Circles.

When you have finished adding people to your circles you should see some of the people you have added at the bottom right of the screen, if you are happy click the continue button. 

Figure 1-17

And there you have it, you are officially a member of Google+.  You are now presented with a screen called the stream, see Figure 1-18, this is where you can see all the posts from the people you have chosen to follow.  You can write posts from this page and also add comments to other people's posts.  We will explore the stream in greater detail in later lessons.  In my next post we will cover setting up your profile.  Filling in your profile correctly can help other people decide whether they want to follow you. 

In future lessons we will explore profiles, circles, photos and the stream, all which are located at the top of your screen, see Figure 1-18.

Figure 1-18

So until next time, that is it.  I hope you found this tutorial of some use and I thank you for your time.

You can read part 2 of the Google+ tutorial here.

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Marc Kennedy - The Lucid Nerd