When I joined Google+ and started trying to get the hang of the whole thing, I had a lot of questions. Some of these ranged from the really basic to the more intricate. I quickly learned that many Google+ features are kind of obvious and intuitive once you know about them. The trick is getting to know them.

If you’ve just started your Google+ journey in prep for Author Rank, I’m sure you have a bunch of questions, and you’re probably looking for some tips/shortcuts too. I collected a bunch of questions, some I once asked and some I’ve heard others ask, and answered them. I also cover some keyboard shortcuts and text formatting.

Let the fourth and final post of this Google+ series begin!

What shows up on my Home tab?

The Home tab on Google+ is where you’ll see your stream. The posts in your stream have been shared with you. That means you’re seeing a post from someone either because that person is in your circles or because that person shared something with you specifically.

You’ll also see in your stream posts that are labeled “What’s Hot and Recommended.” Google strives to show you “serendipitous and diverse information,” and one of the ways it does that is by showing you interesting and exemplary content in your stream.

Google Plus What's Hot and Recommended

You can adjust the number of Hot and Recommended posts you see. Just go to the Explore page, and you’ll see this slider:

Google Plus Explore Slider

Move the slider to the right if you want to see more Hot and Recommended posts. Move it to the left if you’d rather see less. If you’re not too keen on the serendipitous and diverse information Google is showing you, you can also turn off this kind of post completely by moving the slider all the way to the left.

If you’re part of any Google+ communities, you can choose whether or not you want to see posts from communities in the stream. Just go to the page for the community you’re part of and click the button labeled Actions (it’s right below the profile picture). Check or uncheck the “Show posts in Home stream” box.

Google Plus Communities Posts Home Stream

You can also filter your home stream by circle. At the very top of the stream, you’ll see filters named after your circles. Click one and you’ll see content from only the people in that circle.

Google Plus Home Stream Filter

Let’s say I filter my stream because I want to see content from only the people in my Mainstreethost circle (aka my coworkers). When I filter my home stream, I’ll see a button labeled Settings on the right-hand side of the page. This lets me make my stream even more customizable.

Google Plus Mainstreethost Settings

If I don’t want to see in the stream posts from people in this circle, I can uncheck that “show posts in Home stream” box. I can also change the amount of posts from people in this circle that I see in the stream.

What happens if I add someone to a circle?

When you add people to circles, they will get a notification telling them you added them to a circle (this could be an email or just a notification the next time they log into Google+, depending on how someone has their notification settings set up). People will not know the name of the circle you’ve added them to. You’re the only one who can see the name of your circles, so you can name your circles anything that you want.

Can I edit circle visibility on my profile?

Yes! I’m sure you’ve noticed that when you look at someone’s Google+ profile, you can see all of the people he/she has in circles. If you want to change what people can see when they look at your profile, go to the About tab of your profile. Click Edit in the box marked People.

Google Plus About People

Here’s where you can choose which circles are visible when others look at your profile. Maybe you want other people to be able to see everyone you have in all of your circles. Maybe you want them to be able to see only people in certain circles. Maybe you don’t want people to see the people who have circled you. You can change all of this.

Google Plus About People Edit

What else can I edit on my profile when it comes to visibility?

You can determine which tabs are visible to others when they look at your Google+ profile. The About tab and the Posts tab will always be visible to people who look at your profile. But when it comes to the Photo, YouTube/Videos, +1, and Reviews tab, you can choose whether or not you want to make these tabs visible. If I don’t want people to be able to see the reviews I’ve written, I can hide that tab. Press the gear icon on your Profile page and click Settings.

Google Plus 17

Scroll down, and you can edit tab visibility:

Google Plus 18

You can also change the visibility of the sections on your About tab. All of your information is public by default, but if I wanted to make my work info visible to only the people I have in circles, I can do that.

Google Plus Work Edit

You can change visibility for all sections on this tab. But if engaging with people and sharing your content is important to you, you want to make all of the info on your profile public so that it will be crawled by Google.

If I comment on or 1 a post, who can see my comment or 1?

When you comment on or +1 a post, everyone who can see the original post can also see your comment or +1. So if a post is public, anyone can see your comment or +1 because anyone can see the post. Let’s say my boss Craig shares a post with me, my coworker Brandon, and my coworker Mike. If I comment on this post, only Craig, Brandon, and Mike will see my comment. But any of them can reshare the post and thereby expose both the post and my comment to a larger audience. Also, if I mention some other person in my comment, that person will be able to see the post even if it wasn’t originally shared with him/her.

Can I edit something I’ve already posted?

Yes! Have you ever tweeted something only to realize your tweet has a typo or is missing a word? Your only option is to delete the tweet or risk being judged by your followers. Facebook gives you some editing power, but it’s really limited. On Google+ you can edit posts after the fact. Just click on the arrow in the top right corner of one of your posts and select Edit from the drop down menu.

Google Plus Edit Posts

You can fix typos, add more hashtags, add updated commentary, or do whatever your inner editor desires.

You can edit your comments on posts after the fact too.

When I share something, I see the option to share with Extended Circles. What is Extended Circles?

Extended Circles includes people in your circles’ circles.

What does muting a post do?

Muting a post takes the post out of your stream. It also prevents you from receiving further notifications about a post. Let’s say I comment on a post by Starbucks. This post will most likely garner a lot of comments, and I may not want to get a notification every single time someone else comments. So I’d mute the post.

Text Formatting:

Bold = *Word*

Italics = _Word_

Strikethrough = -Word-

(you have to put spaces around words if you want to format them)

Keyboard Shortcuts:

/ go to the search box

j move up one post

k move down one post

n next comment on current post

p previous comment on current post

r comment on current post

If you missed any of the posts in the Google+ series, check out Part I on Google+ Profiles, Part II on Google+ Communities, and Part III on Google+ Ripples.