January 27, 2012

Heading Down Under for a Week

If you don't see me Saturday, it's because I don't get a Saturday. Late this evening, I fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and then take a red-eye across the Pacific with the eventual destination being Sydney, Australia. Thanks to the distance of the flight, and the International Date Line, I have the privilege of entering the airliner on a Friday and landing on a Sunday. If Saturday actually happens, I have no proof. But I'm told I get the day back when I return, as the following Friday, thanks to advanced time travel, I will arrive back in the U.S. before I leave (so far as the clock is aware).

Since the arrival of the twins in 2008, and Braden in 2010, travel has been largely curtailed, so this will be the longest I've spent away from all three for sure - an entire week - so I'll have to make it productive. That means extending the trip for sightseeing isn't going to happen, but I'm sure I'll find some time to look around. See you down under!

January 25, 2012

50 Things a +1 Can Mean

A +1 is simple. It’s one of the easiest ways on the web to take an action that endorses the content and says you saw something. But it can mean many different things. That’s the beauty of +1. You can +1 things you like. You can +1 bad news. You can +1 things you love. You can +1 casual status updates or items that change the world.

Often, we get asked what it means to +1. Here are some ideas. We’d love to see yours.

/via The Google+ Page (Which I maintain)

1. A +1 can say you agree with the post.
2. A +1 can say your photo is beautiful.
3. A +1 can say your joke was funny.
4. A +1 can mean you share in sympathy.
5. A +1 can mean you endorse content found on the web.
6. A +1 can say “thanks for sharing!” 
7. A +1 can say “thanks for mentioning me!”
8. A +1 can say “Glad to see you hanging out!” 
9. A +1 can say “Good to see you here!”
10. A +1 can say “Wow! That’s cool!”

11. A +1 can say your video was amazing.
12. A +1 can mean you’re excited about new features.
13. A +1 can mean your post was clever.
14. A +1 can say you like this brand.
15. A +1 can say you’re the biggest fan.
16. A +1 can mean you agree with the shared story.
17. A +1 can say “thanks for commenting!”
18. A +1 can say “I vote for this choice.”
19. A +1 can say “your high score is impressive”.
20. A +1 can say “thanks for playing!”

21. A +1 can say you’re with the band.
22. A +1 can say you love the band.
23. A +1 can mean your meme is hilarious.
24. A +1 can mean your child is adorable.
25. A +1 can mean your food looks delicious.
26. A +1 can mean that song is incredible.
27. A +1 can mean “You said what I was going to say!”
28. A +1 can say you saw the post, but have no comment.
29. A +1 can say that video is stunning.
30. A +1 can say you found the news interesting.

31. A +1 can say you sure do know how to recommend people.
32. A +1 can say “I’m rooting for you!”
33. A +1 can say “Congratulations!”
34. A +1 can mean this article is a must-read.
35. A +1 can mean “I have this product too.”
36. A +1 can mean “I love this book!”
37. A +1 can mean “I hear you.”
38. A +1 can mean “You rock.”
39. A +1 can mean “I love you.”
40. A +1 can mean “I + you.”

41. A +1 can say “I can’t wait!”
42. A +1 can say “You shouldn’t miss this!”
43. A +1 can be a smile.
44. A +1 can say “You look hot.”
45. A +1 can say “I’ve been there before, and I love it.”
46. A +1 can mean “I wish I were there.”
47. A +1 can mean “I am so proud of you.”
48. A +1 can mean “You took my breath away.”
49. A +1 can say “I’m on my phone and only have a second.”
50. A +1 can say anything.

January 24, 2012

Blogger Adds +1 Data to Dashboard to Track Popular Posts

This afternoon, Blogger introduced a small update to user dashboards, letting blog owners see how many +1's their content has achieved across the web, including +1's from Google Reader and search results, from your personal dashboard. Now, in addition to traditional statistics familiar to blog authors, like those found in Google Analytics, you can now see a quick + count next to the number of comments and page views - helping show the impact your most popular posts have received.

As I haven't been very active of late on the blog, I haven't done much to deserve +1's from every corner - something I'm looking to get back to doing shortly. But it's fun to see my August announcement of joining the Google+ team got 105 +1's and the Ten Step Guide to Giving Good Social from July also cracked the 100 +1's mark. And working on the Google+ team, I know that as we don't automate +1 activity, every +1 was done by a human being who took the time to show endorsement of my content.

The Addition of +1 data is displayed in the Blogger dashboard.
Watching how many +1s your content gets, and seeing who your most passionate readers are could play a big role in just what you decide to write about in the future - as page views, retweets and likes have. It's a lightweight way to gauge user satisfaction and get a view into your growing community.

Disclosure: I joined Google in August to work on the Google+ team. Blogger is a Google product.

January 19, 2012

Two Numbers: 1 and 90 Million

By now, you all have seen the dual bits of news today - first that Google+ has achieved 90 million users with at least one new feature every single day, over 1 million businesses and brand pages, and sign in of 60% daily, 80% weekly.

Also, earlier today, Google was (for the 3rd time) named the best place to work by Fortune Magazine (see http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2012/snapshots/1.html). We're working on making Google+ the best place to be for you so you can be just as proud about these numbers and this news. To stay on top of all this great stuff, follow the+Google+ page, and make sure you don't miss an update from +Vic Gundotra or +Larry Page.

For those of you who believed in Google+ when we had 0 Million users, 10 Million users, 40 Million users and now 90 Million users... thank you. Keep providing feedback to make this place even better and tell all your friends who are waiting to be the next ones to join and be active.

January 18, 2012

Daria Musk Visits Google+ for Live Performance

Last Monday, I had the great pleasure of meeting +Daria Musk and interviewing her on stage, to learn more about her story and rise from relative obscurity to becoming a Google+ sensation. As I told the Google+ team, assembled in the private concert, in my introduction, Daria epitomizes the community here as well as anyone I know.

She is fully invested in this platform, is tireless, upbeat, and to boot, is incredibly talented. I'd heard her sing in many a hangout, but to hear her sing live at Google was transformative. Nothing beats a live performance by an artist with passion, energy and skill. With pleasure, I share with you our conversation with +Daria Musk.

/via My Google+ Profile.

January 16, 2012

10 Great Ways to Get Discovered on Google+

As social networks evolve, so to do your circles. Even in the few months since our launch, you’ve probably added a lot of people to your circles who you didn’t know before - people who share common interests, or came by recommendation of a trusted friend or expert. Some people have rocketed their way to high visibility, added to hundreds of thousands of circles, by virtue of their actions on Google+. So while I can’t promise you the big numbers, here are ten ways you can get found on Google+, and examples to boot.

1. Embrace the Community While Doing Something Unique and Creative.

+Daria Musk +Thomas Hawk and +Trey Ratcliff are three of the most prominent people who have taken their talents, including singing and photography, to constantly give back to the community. And rather than post and run, as some content creators do, each of them learns from the community, honing their craft, highlighting others, and making recommendations of other top people. I’ve met all three in person in the last few months, and their dedication to both the network and their talents is something to behold.

2. Speak Eloquently, Thoroughly and from Your Experience.

+Tom Anderson used to just be the default avatar on a once-high-flying network. Now we recognize him as a respected observer of technology trends, social interactions and business moves - both for better and for worse. Having lived through the white hot rise and similar plummet of Myspace, he made enough cash to comfortably tell you how it is and not worry if you love it or hate it. Similarly, +Mark Cuban, a man never known for holding back his words, talks openly on Google+ on sports, business and tech.

3. Go on a Google+ Diet.

If you like what you see here, there’s little better way to show you’re all in than by fully committing to the platform. +Mike Elgan coined the term “the Google+ Diet”, but +Linda Lawrey and others, like +Denis Labelle, are just as devoted in their posting top links throughout the day to Google+ and sparking discussion. Linda also seems to have a side project going squashing the occasional spammer here, and we all appreciate that. 

4. Have a Sense of Humor and Share The Wacky Parts of the Web.

One of the best parts of circles is being able to organize your friends due to what they share, from serious to … not so serious. +Hillel Fuld and +Mona Nomura manage to mix their tech and social enthusiasm with a (un)healthy array of crazy images and outlandish things they find on the Web and share with those who follow them.

5. Gain the Attention of Others Who Have Proven Influence Before.

One of the most viral opportunities here on Google+ is that of the shared circle, where friends you already trust place you in a circle, usually topical, and recommend you to others. +Robert Scobleis one of the most active curators here, and takes a lot of effort to make sure his circles are full of active, contributing people. Gain his eye, or others with a network effect, such as +Veronica Belmont or +Felicia Day, and your updates could reach thousands. To gain the attention of these influencers, engage in their comment threads, don’t be shy about +mentioning them when you have interesting content, or stay on topic.

6. Spend Your Time Contributing to Make Google+ Even Better.

We’re working hard on making Google+ incredible. But we’re just getting started. Smart developers like +Matt Mastracci and +Mohamed Mansour have made a number of Chrome extensions to improve the streams and sharing beyond where they are now. +Paul Allen has made a side project of projecting our growth using real statistical analysis. Products like+CircleCount and SocialStatistics.com try to keep tabs on who is growing and what the top posts of the day are. This makes them all worth watching.

7. Be Well Known for Something Outside of Google+, Engage Here.

Call them celebrities or whatever you like, but there are many people who are household names who have taken to Google+ and used the medium to get closer to the rest of us, so you know them even better. From +Richard Branson and the +Dalai Lama to +Hugh Jackman to +will.i.am, people you read about offline are part of the community online.

8. Embrace Hangouts.

+Daria Musk's concerts in hangouts have been incredible to watch, but many more of you just simply hang out, with friends in your circles or the public. Every evening, I get invites from friends like +Bobbi Jo Woods+Erica Joy and +Liza Sperling who just love hangouts. Want to know the community face to face to face? Click the Hangout button and see who shows up.

9. Be On the Scene and Break the News.

+Roberto Vongher was armed with a camera and reported on the Costa Concordia disaster, giving us a primary source view previously the world of the news networks. +Breaking News has adopted Google+ and is a fast place for me to catch up on what’s happening, as is +Fox News. For tech, I’ve got +The Verge +The Next Web and +TechCrunch. On the sports side, between+ESPN +SB Nation and +Sports Illustrated, I’m pretty much set.

10. Be The People Who Make This Place Run.

This might not sound fair for those of you who don’t spend your 9-5 (or longer) at the Googleplex, but the people who set the agenda and write the code to make Google+ go are as committed to the platform as its users. So it’s a pleasure to see updates roll in not just from +Vic Gundotra and+Bradley Horowitz , but Google’s execs including +Larry Page+Sergey Brin and +Eric Schmidt. I’d list out the many folks I work with every day who own different aspects of the product, but by starting I’d never finish.

If you’re not constantly finding people to add to your circles, you’re not seeing what I’m seeing, which is a thriving community eager to share, socialize and discover. Looking for engagement on your content and feeling a bit ignored? We’ve all gone through it. So keep being yourself, and there’s no question your friends and peers are here. Leverage search to find topics and people you’re interested in. Check out shared circles from people you trust. Hangout! Play games. Have fun.

I’ve added all the people in this post to a shared circle. Add them and you can’t go wrong. There’s no question your stream will be full of some great stuff.

/via My Google+ Profile.