What is it?
Google+ makes connecting on the web more like connecting in the real world by letting you share your thoughts, links, and ideas with others. Best of all, Google+ let’s you create a “hangout” with a simple click of your mouse for easy, spontaneous video chat with as many as nine people at a time.
At U-M, we see Google+ as a powerful tool for forwarding our core missions by letting us collaborate quickly and easily, bring expertise into the classroom from anywhere, facilitate interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research, and connect U-M to the world. For example, Google+ can be used as a standalone service or in concert with the other Google collaborative tools to:
- hold remote faculty office hours
- conduct virtual panels
- bring the worlds experts to the class for invited lectures
- help students with team projects
- and much more.
How does it work?
Google+ is connected to your U-M account. To get started, log into your U-M account and then click the link in the top-left that has a plus sign followed by your first name.
Once you’ve created your profile, you can search for anyone at U-M and add them to a “circle.” Circles let you manage the people to whom you’re connected. You can add someone to as many or as few circles as you want, and then choose which circles you want to share information with. Since you don’t always share everything with everyone, circles make it easy to share with only certain people or with everyone. For example, you could create a circle for a class, a project, a user group, a department, your housemates...you get the idea.
Why would I want to use it?
Get work done more quickly. Save time running across campus for meetings. Avoid having to reserve a special meeting room with video conferencing capabilities. Stay in touch with your colleagues and classmates. Since everyone at U-M can make a profile, you can find and share with people in your department, in your school, or anywhere on campus. You can also share with Google+ users outside of U-M. With a hangout you can video chat, share documents, even view images or watch a video together.
Where can I find out more?
You can find out more on Google’s own Google+ page, which includes videos and overviews of all the features available in Google+. Also check out this great presentation on using Google+ in Higher Ed.