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Google+ Sparks

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Google+ Sparks

Google+ Sparks

Wendy Boswell, About.com

What are Google+ Sparks?:

Google+ Sparks are topics of interest, selected and curated by the user, that can be shared within a Google+ user's profile, shared with others, or simply bookmarked for reading later. Sparks aim to bring content that you're interested in directly to you within Google+ and make it as easy as possible both to find and distribute that content.

How to find Sparks you might be interested in:

The link to Sparks is found about halfway down the left-hand side of the Google+ Stream. Click on that link, and you'll be taken to the Sparks page, where an initial array of topics is displayed. You can choose to click on these topics and explore, or, you can type in your own subject of interest and Google will bring back relevant articles, blogs, or news items.

Filtering and organizing your Sparks:

You are not limited to Google's selections of Sparks, as noted above. You can get as specific as you want to in what you ask Google to retrieve for you. Once you find something you like, you can "pin" that topic to your Stream for easy access later simply by clicking "Add Interest". In addition, you can choose to click through and read the entire article (by clicking the headline), add it to your +1 collection that shows up in public searches and your Google+ Profile (by default these are private), or share it with others.

If you decide you don't want a Spark appearing in your Stream, mouse over and click on the "X".

How to share Sparks content with others:

Sharing your Sparks is easy. If you find something you want to share, click on the "Share" button directly below the article. Choose which Google+ Circles you want to share it with, then click "Share".

+1's and Sparks:

The +1 button right below every Sparks article does four things:
  • Shares your choice of content in public search results
  • Adds that content to your Google+ Profile under "+1's" (these are private by default)
  • Displays across the Web on different websites as your public affirmation of that particular content
  • Helps improve the quality of content you see in your Google searches

Google+ Sparks:

Google's social network, Google+, gives users the ability to quickly connect with others, share what is important to them, and make new connections. One of the more interesting features in Google+ is Sparks, a tool that helps you find stories on subjects that interest you and share with others. Google retrieves articles, content, and stories on subjects that you want to read more about, which can potentially spark conversation as you share what you've found with your Circles, via your Stream, or in a Hangouts.

Getting started with Google Sparks is quite easy. On the left-hand side of the Stream is a text button labeled "Sparks". Click on that and you'll see "Featured Interests", a list of initial topics that Google has put together in order to appeal to a wide variety of people. If any of these look interesting to you, click on them, and you'll see a selection of content relating to those topics. If none of these initial topics strike your fancy, simply type in something you'd like to see more about in the Sparks search bar at the top of the page.

Once you've found a topic you're interested in, Google shows you a good selection of content that you can do three separate things with:

  • Share with others (your Circles, within your Stream, in a Hangout).
  • +1; basically, a public affirmation of your approval of that piece of content that shows up publicly in search results and within your Profile page under "+1's" (the +1 on your profile is visible only to you).
  • Click through on the link to read the complete article at the originating site.

Once you find a topic that really works for you, you don't have to go looking for it again: simply click on the button labeled "Add Interest", and that topic will be "pinned" in the Sparks section on your Google+ Stream for easy access anytime.

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