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Google+ Circles

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Google+ Circles

Google+ Circles

Wendy Boswell, About.com

What are Google Circles?:

Google+ Circles are simply a way of organizing your personal and professional connections within Google+. Work, family, hobbies, anything you might be interested in, they all get their own Circle. You choose who you'd like to share content with; for example, someone in your Work Circle will probably not be interested in something you're thinking about sharing with your Family Circle.

In addition to customizing your Circles to fit with how you interact in real life, you can also personalize how your profile appears to each Circle you create, i.e., relationship information can be kept separate from a work profile.

How to start a Circle:

Starting a Google Circle is easy. Click on the Circles icon at the top of your Google+ profile, select the people who you'd like to create a Circle for, and drag them with your mouse to the Circle labeled "Drop Here to Create a New Circle". One person can be in several different Circles, depending on how you would like to interact with them.

How to find people to put in your Circles:

Suggestions for people you might want to add to your Circles will show up within your Stream. These suggestions come from your interactions and presence on other Google Products (see The Ten Most Useful Google Services for just a few of the most used Google tools and sites).

What is an "extended circle"?:

You have several options when sharing content with your Circles. Underneath the "Share What's New" text box is a drop-down menu that lets you choose exactly who you would like to share with, including Extended Circles. These are simply people who are connected to someone that you are already connected to, but are not in your immediate Circles.

How to add people to your Circles:

Adding people to Circles is possible several different ways:
  • From Google's suggestions found in your Stream
  • By clicking on someone's Google+ profile
  • Via the "Circles" icon at the top of the Google+ homepage

Editing your Circles:

Google+ makes editing your Circles quite easy.
  • To block someone: Click on the "Block" link next to a name To remove someone from a Circle: Click the Circles icon, find the person you want to remove, and click "Remove".
  • To delete a Circle: Click your Circles icon, double-click on any Circle icon, and select the "Delete This Circle" option.

Google+ Circles and Privacy Issues:

Circles can take some getting used to, and some information could be shared with Circles you don't intend. There are also a few privacy concerns:
  • Content you share with a specific Circle can be shared beyond who you intend if they share it in their Circles.
  • Even though you delete a Circle, content you have shared is still visible in the Streams of that Circle.

Google+ Circles and How They Work:

Google's entry into the social networking world debuted June 2011, titled Google+. One of the features of Google+'s service is the Google+ Circle, similar in design and purpose to Facebook's Lists or Groups.

Because relationships are at the core of any social networking service, Circles aims to make sharing with the people in your life as intuitive as possible. Users can create Circles based on their connections, and then choose which content they want to share with those Circles.

For example, say you have three circles: Family, Work Colleagues, and Knitting Club. You can create a separate Circle for each of these groups, and share what you want with each of these groups. Your Work Circle doesn't see what you are sharing with your Family Circle, and your Knitting Club Circle doesn't see what you are sharing with your Work Circle. This is one way to make your content as relevant as possible to the ones it will matter the most to.

Simply put, Google+ Circles helps you organize your personal list of contacts in a more meaningful way, based on how you interact with those people in daily life.

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