How To Use Google+ A Beginners Guide – Part 3 Circles

In this tutorial we will learn all about Circles. Google+ Circles allow you to sort all of the people who you are following into groups or circles, just as you do in the real world. For example in your day-to-day life you sort the people you know into these imaginary groups or circles. You will have family in one group, gym buddies in another, work colleagues in their own group and so on. You get the general idea. Google+ Circles allows you to do the same thing in your social networking life, for example you may want to share something personal with only your family and not your work colleagues and friends, well this is the whole idea behind Circles, so let’s get started.

To begin editing your circles:

  • Click the Circles tab at the top of The Stream screen, see Figure 1-1.
Google+ circles tab

Figure 1-1

A Quick Overview

We will start by exploring the area at the top left hand side of the screen, People in your circlesPeople who’ve added youFind people, see Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2

  • Click the People in your circles link in the top left hand side of your screen, see Figure 1-2.

If you are already following people, you will see a list of all of the people who you are currently following, see Figure 1-3.

Figure 1-3

  • Click the People who’ve added you link next to People in your circles link, Figure 1-2.

You will see a list similar to the one you saw in the people you are following list, but this time the people who you see are all of the people who are following you.

  • Click the Find people link next to the People who’ve added you link, Figure 1-2.

This time you will see a list of people who Google thinks you may want to add to your circles based on the people who you are following and the people that they are following. You may also see suggestions from your connected accounts or other people you have interacted with in other google products, Gmail etc. You can also find friends by uploading your address book or finding contacts in your Yahoo and Hotmail accounts, see Figure 1-4.

Figure 1-4

If you are following a lot of people and your lists are long you can search for a particular person using the people search box, see Figure 1-5.

Enter a name to search Google+

Figure 1-5

Enter the name of the person that you are searching for in the search box. As you type, Google+ will narrow the search down until it finds exact matches for the name you are searching for. When you have finished typing you will be presented with a list of people matching that name, see Figure 1-6. Select the person you are searching for.

Figure 1-6

At the bottom of your screen you have the circles themselves, Family, Friends, Acquaintances and Following. These are the default Google+ circles. This is where we will be adding people to circles and creating new circles of our own. So let’s do that now.

Adding people to Google+ Circles

Before we start this section I will assume that you are following at least one person to enable you to follow along. If you are not, feel free to follow me for the purposes of this tutorial, just type Marc Kennedy into the name search box as described above, I should come up as Marc Kennedy – The Lucid Nerd.

Now that we are all following someone how do we add people to different circles?

  • Click the People in your circles link in the top left hand side of your screen so we can see all of the people that we are following, Figure 1-2.
  • Select one or multiple people to add to a circle by highlighting their name tile.
  • Drag your selection to the relevant circle, see Figure 1-7.
  • If you find you have dropped someone in the wrong circle, simply click their small profile picture in the circle they are in and drag it to the correct circle.
Drag people to your circles.

Figure 1-7

And that is all there is to adding people to circles.

See what circles people are in

If you want to view what circles people are in:

  • Hover your mouse over the name tile of someone you are following.

As you can see from Figure 1-8, when you hover over the tile of a person you are following it opens a pop-up box that tells you their name and also how many circles they are in (you can have the same person in multiple circles e.g cycling buddies and work colleague). You can also click on that person’s name to take you directly to their profile page. You will also notice that as you hover over their name tile the circle they are in now has an outer glow, making it easy for you to tell which circles people are in, see Figure 1-8.

Hover over a name to which circle they are in.

Figure 1-8

View all of the people in a Google+ circle

You can view all of the people in a circle in two ways:

  • Hover the mouse over the circle and you will see up to 13 small photos of people in that circle, see Figure 1-9.
Hover over a circle to see who is inside.

Figure 1-9

Have more than 13 people in a circle, no problem:

  • Click the circle that you want to view, notice that all of the people in that particular circle now appear in the top half of your screen, see Figure 1-10.

Figure 1-10

If you want to find a particular person within a large circle of people:

  • Enter their name in the name search box as discussed earlier, see Figure 1-10.

Remove someone from a circle

Removing people from your circles is just as easy.

To remove a person from all of your circles and stop following them altogether:

  • Click on the People in your circles link, see Figure 1-2.
  • Highlight the relevant name tile by clicking on it.
  • Click the Remove link, see Figure 1-11.
Remove someone from a circle.

Figure 1-11

A confirmation will appear at the top of the screen notifying you that the person you have selected was removed from your circles.

To remove someone from a specific circle they are in, for example if you have someone in the cycling buddies and work colleagues circles and you want to remove them from the work colleagues circle because they have changed jobs:

  • Click on the circle that they are in.

All the people in that circle will appear in the top half of your screen.

  • Click on the person’s name tile to highlight it.
  • Click on the Remove link, Figure 1-11.

or

  • Hover over the circle they are in.
  • Click and drag their small picture out of the circle, see Figure 1-12.
Drag a persons profile picture to remove them from a circle.

Figure 1-12

This time the person will be removed from that circle but will remain in any other circle they are in and will not be completely removed as before.

Ignoring people in Google+

When someone adds you to their circles, you may not be interested in what they have to say. If they include you in a circle that they send a post out to you will receive that post in your incoming stream, we will cover this in the next tutorial The Stream. If you want you can ignore them, it will limit what they can share with you. When you ignore a person:

  • They will be removed from the list of People who’ve added you at the top of your screen.
  • You will no longer receive posts in your incoming stream from them.
  • Their mentions of you will not appear in your stream.

You can ignore people in different screens in Google+ but to ignore someone from the circles screen:

  • Click People who’ve added you link in the top half of your screen, Figure 1-2.
  • Click on their name tile to highlight it.
  • Click the blue Ignore link, See Figure 1-13.
Ignoring someone in Google+

Figure 1-13

To view the list of people you have ignored:

  • Click the More actions link, to the right of the Ignore link .
  • Click View ignored.

A pop-up box will appear with a list of all the people that you have ignored. Click the Un-ignore button if you want to allow them to share with you again, see Figure 1-14.

Un-ignore someone in Google+

Figure 1-14

Ignoring someone is not the same as Blocking someone. An ignored person will still be able to comment on your public posts, tag you in photos and add you to circles. If you want to further limit interaction with someone you should block them instead, which we will cover next.

Blocking people in Google+

There may be a time when you want to block someone entirely, because they are sending you spam or adding abusive comments etc. When you block someone:

  • You will not see any of their posts in your stream or incoming.
  • They will be removed from all of your circles if you were originally following them.
  • They will be removed from extended circles ( example, say you follow David and David has Jennifer in his circles but you do not know Jennifer, if you share with extended circles your post maybe shared with Jennifer too).
  • They will not be able to comment on any of your posts.
  • They will not be able to see any of your posts that you share with your circles, although they still may see posts that you mark as Public.

You can block people in different screens in Google+ but to bloke someone from the circles screen:

  • Click on either the People who’ve added you or People in your circles link, if you are following them, in the top half of your screen, Figure 1-2.
  • Click the name of the person you wish to block to highlight it.
  • Click the More actions link on the right hand side of the screen.
  • Click Block from the drop down list, see Figure 1-15.
Block someone in Google+

Figure 1-15

A pop-up box will appear where you can select either Report and block this person or Block persons name. Pick the choice that is right for you by clicking the relevant button, for example if that person is sending spam or abusive comments you may choose to Report and block this person.

To see the list of people who you have blocked:

  • Click the More actions link in the right hand side of the screen.
  • Select View blocked.

Even though they will not be notified directly, the person may know that they have been blocked because their interactions with you will now be limited. We will cover other ways to ignore and block people in the next tutorial, as you can also perform these action from The Stream.

Now you know how to add people to circles, ignore people, find people and block them, we will now move onto editing your circles. We will cover re-ordering, re-naming, adding descriptions, creating and deleting your circles.

Creating circles in Google+

To create a new circle either:

  • Click on some name tiles in the top half of your screen to highlight them.
  • Drag them to the circle that reads Drop contacts here to create a new circle, see Figure 1-16.
  • Drop them in the circle.
Adding people to circles in Google+

Figure 1-16

  • Click the blue Create circle link, see Figure 1-17.
Creating circles in Google+

Figure 1-17

A pop-up box will appear.

  • Click where it says Circle name to add a name for your new circle.
  • Click the Click to add a description link to add a description for this circle, see Figure 1-18.
  • Click the blue Create circle button when you are happy with your changes.

Figure 1-18

or you can:

  • Hover the mouse pointer over the circle that reads Drop contacts here to create a new circle.

The text will change to a blue Create circle link.

  • Click the blue Create circle link.

A pop-up box will appear as before asking for a Circle name and a link Click to add a description. Fill in the text fields as before.

  • Click the Create empty circle button to create your new circle.

You now can begin to drag people to this new circle.

Re-ordering your circles

You can change the order that your circles are listed by simply clicking and dragging that circle to the desired position. The changes that you make to the order of your circles here will also be reflected in the side navigation of The Stream ( this will be discussed in the next tutorial the stream).

To re-order a circle:

  • Click on the circle that you want to move.
  • While holding down the mouse button drag the circle left or right to the desired position, see Figure 1-19.
  • A faint vertical line will appear between the circles you are hovering over to indicate that the circle can be dropped in this location.
re-arranging circles in Google+

Figure 1-19

Re-name a circle

To re-name one of your circles:

Click on the circle that you want to re-name.

The circle will display a list of people in the top half of the screen, notice that the circle in the bottom half of the screen that you have just clicked on has changed. It now displays the blue links Edit, Delete or Share, see Figure 1-20.

Change the name of a circle in Google+

Figure 1-20

  • Click on the blue Edit link in the circle.

A pop-up box will appear. Change the name in the upper text field to the desired name, see Figure 1-21.

Figure 1-21

  • Click the blue Save button when you are happy with your change.

Add a description to a Google+ circle

To add a description to a circle:

  • Click the circle that you want to add a description to.

The circle will display a list of people in the top half of the screen, notice that the circle in the bottom half of the screen that you have just clicked on has changed. It now displays the blue links Edit, Delete or Share, see Figure 1-20.

  • Click on the blue Edit link in the circle.

A pop-up box will appear. Change or add a description in the lower text field underneath the name field, Figure 1-21.

  • Click the blue Save button when you are happy with your change.

Note that the descriptions that you give to your circles are only visible by you, so people in the circles will not know what description you have given to them.

Deleting a circle in Google+

To delete one of your circles:

  • Click the circle that you want to delete.

The circle will display a list of people in the top half of the screen, notice that the circle in the bottom half of the screen that you have just clicked on has changed. It now displays the blue links Edit, Delete or Share, see Figure 1-20.

  • Click on the blue Delete link in the circle.

A pop-up box will appear, if you are sure you wish to delete the circle click the blue Delete circle button, see Figure 1-22.

Deleting a circle in Google+

Figure 1-22

Please note that once you have deleted a circle you cannot recover it. In addition, anything that you previously shared with that circle will become private to you and only visible in your Stream and profile’s Post tab.

What to do if someone adds you to a circle

Anyone can add you to one of their circles without your permission. If that person adds you to a circle they will not be automatically added to one of your circles. If some one adds you to a circle you will receive a notification telling you that you have been added to a circle. The notification will be in the notification area in the side navigation of The Stream ( we will cover the notification area in the next tutorial The Stream), you can add this person to one of your circles by hovering over their name and selecting a relevant circle from the pop-up box (but only if you want to add them). As stated above we will cover this in more detail in the next tutorial. If you do not want to interact with this person you can always ignore or block them.

Who can see your Google+ circles

Underneath your profile picture on The Stream screen is a block of photos of people in your circles and beneath that is a block of photos of people who have you in their circles. When a visitor to your page hovers over one of these photos they will see the name of that person and have a chance to follow them themselves. Note that no one can see the names and descriptions that you have given to your circles but you. People in the circle that you share with may be able to see some of the others with whom that content was also shared.

And there we have it you are now a master of circles in Google+. In the next tutorial we will tackle The Stream. 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 Four of the Google+ tutorial here.

Your Friend

Marc Kennedy – The Lucid Nerd

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