Google+ can be especially tricky because they haven’t publicly released an API. Which means it’s not easy to cross-post to Google+ and other networks, or to schedule posts within Google+. The tools that make it more convenient and less time-consuming to use Google+ are harder to come by.
One place that has no lack of Google+ tools is the Chrome web store. If you do a search for Google+ within the Chrome web store, it returns somewhere around 500 results.
Now some of these are kind of silly. Like installing a “1-” button to counter the “1+” feature. Or turning your 1+ button into a Mario Brothers mushroom icon. Okay . . .
And some of them just plain don’t work. I know because I’ve tried. And I wanted them to work. So I tried. And tried. And tried.
Today I’m going to share with you five apps from the Chrome web store that will help you with Google+. I’m not saying they’re all “must haves.” It just depends on your preferences and what makes things easier for you. These five work (for me), and they are relevant to online business owners. At the least, they give you a good place to start when looking at the list of 500.
1. Replies Plus More for G+
This app adds the following features to your Google+ stream:
- “Reply” and “Reply to Author” links for easy +mentions of other users
- Ctrl+Enter and Shift+Enter submit a comment or post
- “M” key mutes a post
- Adds a dropdown next to share with additional sharing options (Twitter/Facebook/Email)
- “originally shared by” linked to original post
I like this app. It helps increase the ease of your interaction by allowing you to click “reply” in a comment, which brings up a comment box for you that’s already populated with the name of the person you’re replying to. You can reply to the author of the post in the same way by clicking on “reply to author.” It looks like this in your G+ stream:
I also like the ease with which this app allows you to share to Facebook or Twitter, or even by email. A little drop-down box next to the share arrow effortlessly provides you with these options:
This app makes things quicker and easier for me, which is always a good thing. If you’re interested in sharing on LinkedIn too (and many other social sites), you should try Extended Share for Google+. It doesn’t have the other features of this app, but it does allow you to share G+ content almost everywhere.
2. Google 1+ Button
One of the biggest complaints I hear about Google+ is that you can’t use third party tools like Hootsuite to post to G+. The Google 1+ Button app takes some of the pain out of this fact by making it simple for you to share any page on the web to G+ without leaving that page. The app is installed next to your address bar, here:
Once you click the button, it publicly +1′s the page and opens up the regular G+ box that allows you to comment and share the page with whatever circles you choose. If you didn’t want your love of the page to be public, you could then click the button again and remove your 1+ after you shared it with the appropriate circles. Yes, many web pages have share buttons on them already. But many don’t. And, this has kept me from looking for the share button at times too. Again, I like it because it makes things quick and easy.
3. Move Your Photos
Another time saver here. This app moves all of your Facebook photos to Picasa, which is Google+’s photo album. Again, it is located next to your address bar like this:
Once you click on the icon, it will prompt you to log in to Facebook. Then it opens a window that shows each of the photo albums you have on Facebook. It allows you to import all of your pictures, entire albums, or just select pictures from any album you choose. It looks like this:
This app is especially good for transferring all of the photos you had on Facebook before you started with Google+. If you want to share a lot of the same pictures on both social media networks, it’s a must-have.
4. My Hangouts for Google+
Ever wish you could get with the relatively new Google+ hangouts? It was on my to-do list for quite awhile. This app makes it much easier to get involved.
The app shows up next to your address bar. (Tip: you don’t have to keep all of these icons visible on your address bar. You can hide the ones you don’t use often and just go to “extensions” under the “windows” tab when you want to use the app).
The icon shows the number of hangouts going on. (See the purple arrow in the picture below) This can be public hangouts, or hangouts involving people that are in your circles. It’s your choice.
You can also choose to be notified when someone in one or more of your circles enters a hangout. Again, it’s your choice as to which circles you receive notifications about. The info shows up in your “notifications” tab inside the green square here:
There are a couple of other cool features here. The “gallery” tab inside the green box above is where you can store memorable screen shots the app allows you to take during the hangout. The “map” tab next to it shows a map of the world with the location of the person who started each hangout that’s going on. The blue “join” button on the left-hand side allows you to join the hangout with just one click.
It doesn’t get any easier than this!
Another one you might want to give a try is Quick Hangouts for G+. It watches your stream and adds a link underneath the ‘Start a Hangout’ button to join any active hangouts it finds in your G+ stream. Not as much information, but still makes hanging out easier.
5. Google Plus Directory
My final selection from the Chrome Web Store for today is Google Plus Directory. Why? Because another big complaint I hear is that “no one is on Google+.” Seriously? . . . I find a lot of good people using findpeopleonplus.com, but here’s another good option.
This app will appear when you open a new tab in Chrome. Here, with the green box around it:
The app takes you to plusfriendfinder.com, which claims to be “the yellow pages of Google+,” and states that it has 1.3 million G+ profiles. It allows you to search by occupation, city, country, name, or for random people. I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s definitely worth using. I use it mainly to search by occupation.
Some of these five are available for Firefox too, but I’m a big Chrome fan. You can find any of them by typing their name into the search bar at the Chrome web store. I’ll share more with you as I find others that I believe would be helpful. In the meantime, let me know if you have other favorite apps you use for Google+.