Google+ lets you hang with a circle of friends


Click on the Sparks button (on the left side of the screen, just below your Circles list), and you'll come to a list of general topics, such as Cycling, Fashion, Movies and so on. Click any of the topics on that list, and you'll see a stream of content related to the topic, including blog posts, news articles and videos. You can also create your own topics to follow by typing in a search term, clicking the search button, and then clicking a button labeled "Add interest."

Another feature, Hangouts, lets you videoconference with others in your circles. You can create a hangout and either invite others to join or just wait for others to join; a notice that you've created a hangout will display in the stream of people in your circles.

Those who enjoy videoconferencing will find this a convenient and simple way to video chat with friends. It's exceedingly simple to use, and only requires that you have the right equipment -- a webcam and a microphone. (If you don't have a webcam, you can participate via audio only.)

Google+ also makes it easy to share photos with others. You can make individual photos or entire photo albums available to specific circles or to everyone in all of your circles. Because the photo feature ties directly into Picasa, it's exceedingly easy to find the photos and albums you want to share. You can also see all the photos that others have shared with you.