A Guide to Google+ Plus Circles
A guide to Google+ Plus Circles and how to set up circles, post within circles, and create hangouts.
How Circles Work
Google created circles to be similar to that of grouping of friends you have. This allows you to narrow down who exactly sees your posts. You may have one circle for friends and one for family. If you wish to make a post that is directed purely towards your family members, you have the option to select that. People who are in your circles cannot see who else is in your circle, the name of your circles, or posts related to other circles.
However, if you have friends who are not placed in a circle, they will not see your posting in their stream when you dictate a specific group of people but they will be able to see the post if they visit your profile. When you make a post you do not have to select a specific circle or group of people. You can choose to make your post public which means anyone on the internet can see them if they visit your profile. No special privileges are required to view them.
You also have extended circles which are basically friends of your friends. The same rules apply with this group of people. They are able to see your post on your page but not in their stream unless they are a part of your circle. However, while your posts are viewable on your profile to extended circles, they are not viewable to the public.
Home or Stream
Your stream is the first thing you see when you visit Google+. Everything that is posted from your circles will appear here. From this feed, you can choose to +1 content, share, comment, or start a hangout regarding the content. Sharing posts will cause them to show up on news feeds and your profile. The number of people you have +1’d also appears on the top right and is comparable to a Facebook “Like” of a post.
Google Hangouts is a way to video chat it with up to another 9 people at once. Unlike other video chat services, Google Hangout is free. You can begin a Hangout anywhere you see a Hangout button as well as in conversation windows. Your hangouts will appear on your profile based on your privacy settings, allowing people in the Hangout to see that it happened. This also allows you to rejoin the hangout.
To start a Hangout from your contact list, you can add people or whole circles and create a name for the Hangout. When you are a part of a Hangout, the person speaking typically appears in the main section of the window as well as people manually selecting individuals you may want featured instead. Clicking the individual will return them to auto-select and the current speaker will be placed back on feature.