7 Google Plus Hacks You Need to Know

Google+ logo tile on keybard

Google Plus is the second-largest social media site, but many people have yet to fully embrace it. One of the reasons is that most users don’t know what makes it great.

There are quite a few hidden features and shortcuts that make Google Plus better than Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Check out the tips and hacks below to help you not only use Google Plus but use it like a pro.

RELATED: How to Get Started With Google Plus

1. Format Posts

A feature that really sets Google+ apart from the competition is the ability to format your posts with bold, italics, and strikethrough text. If you’re posting long-form style, these can really help.

  • Bold – Surround text with *asterisks*
  • Italics – Surround text with _underscores_
  • Strikethrough – Surround text with -hyphens-

Cartoon about Google+ combining social media sites

2. Keyboard Shortcuts

Everybody loves a good keyboard shortcut, and Google+ has more than enough to make any keyboard lover happy.

From adding mentions with the + or @ symbols to scrolling post by post, there are quite a few shortcuts to learn.

Luckily, Mashable found a useful cheat sheet that you can save to learn the best ones. A smaller version is below, but click this link for the full-size image.

Google+ cheat sheet

3. View Shares

Google+ has a nifty feature called Ripples. Sometimes someone shares a post that was shared by someone else, and by the time it gets to you it’s hard to know where it originally came from.

With Ripples you can view the connection of shares that a single post has. To view the Ripples for a post, click on the drop-down in the upper right corner of any post and choose View Ripples.

Google+ Ripples graphic

You’ll only see public shares. Any private posts or shares will not have the View Ripples option.

4. Auto Backup for Photos

If you take a lot of pictures with your Android or iOS device, you can automatically save them to Google+ for backup and later posting.

You get unlimited storage for standard-size photos, which stay completely private until you choose to share them. Full-resolution images do count towards your Google Drive storage limit, though.

To turn on auto backup, open the Google+ app on your mobile device and tap the menu button in the upper let corner. This will expand the Google+ menu, where you’ll see the familiar Google gear icon in the upper right corner.

Duplicate contacts killing your productivity? See how Scrubly can help in this 100-second video.

Tap on the gear icon and then on Camera and Photos. Tap on Auto Backup and set it to ON.

Choose the rest of your settings and you’re all done. Now, as long as the Google+ app is running, any new photos will be uploaded automatically.

RELATED: Stop Strangers on Google+ From Emailing You

5. Auto Awesome

While you might think your vacation pictures are amazingly interesting, some are probably less than stellar. To help with this issue, Google+ has a feature called Auto Awesome.

Auto Awesome creates new images based on uploaded pictures. These include a variety of effects such as erasing background photo bombers automatically, stitching together a panorama shot for you, and even merging multiple images so that everyone is smiling at the same time.

Check out Google’s documentation on Auto Awesome for more information on it.

6. Hangouts

We could do an entire post on Google+ Hangouts, but for the sake of brevity, here are a few interesting hacks for them.

You might not know that you can use a variety of apps with Hangouts. From doing a SlideShare presentation to adding a custom lower third to the hangout window for names and information, it’s pretty easy to make Hangouts pretty great.

A Google+ Hangout can be shared online by using a Hangout on the Air. This type of Hangout can be viewed by anyone. Best of all, it gets saved to YouTube as a video to share or download later. Check out this tips sheet for more information on how to do this.

RELATED: How to Migrate from iCloud to Google Contacts

7. Easter Eggs in Hangouts

Colored Easter eggs in carton

There are a variety of Easter eggs hiding in Google+ Hangouts. Want a little shy dinosaur to come visit your Hangout? How about trying the Konami cheat code? Well, if you’re a fan of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, ENTER, you’ll be rewarded.

Check out this cheat sheet with some of the best Hangouts Easter eggs for some fun tricks to play in your next Hangout.


Google+ is pretty great, and just like Twitter before everyone really discovered it, there’s a ton of potential just sitting there waiting to be found. Check out Google+ and try the hacks listed above to see if you can get up to speed with Google+.

Love Google+ and want more Scrubly news and posts? Check out my Google+ page.

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