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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

My collection of optical illusions

If you’ve ever felt like you go a little cross-eyed after taking a peek at an optical illusion, then you know they can be a pretty intense phenomenon. What your eyes perceive when looking at one of these images is actually a visual illusion; you see the image as something different than what it is because the different cells and receptors in your eyes distinguish images and colors at dissimilar speeds. The eye can only receive a limited amount of visual stimuli, but as your brain constantly processes the visual information, it gives you the illusion of continuous sight. Whether it’s an optical, physiological or cognitive illusion, the design plays a trick on your eyes (and mind). Check out some of the interesting illusions below—but beware, you may not be able to absorb them all in one sitting.

 

Flowing Leaves 

The brown leaf shapes against a green background make this look as if the entire group is flowing—making waves if you focus on the picture as a whole. Photo from Flickr

 

Pulsing Vortex

If you stare at this one long enough you’ll notice a fast and pulsing multicolored vortex. Photo from Flickr

 

Waves

The blue almond-shaped objects look as if they’re all passing over three separate columns. Photo from Flickr

 

Hypnosis 

Although this image is comprised of simple purple and green squares outlined in black, it looks like it is bulging out in the center. Photo from Flickr

 

Kaleidoscopes

A collection of black, blue, green and white shapes appears to be five different kaleidoscope-type figures—each swirling toward their centers. Photo from Flickr

 

Wormhole

The black and white circular lines make this illusion seem as if there are various depths in the image, creating different entryways and tunnels. Photo courtesy of Paco Calvino

 

Bull’s-Eye

If you stare at the center of the image, it looks as if the outer rings are rotating in alternating directions—an effect meant to mesmerize the viewer. Photo courtesy of Todd A. Carpenter

 

Starbursts

These bright purple and green star-like shapes appear to be moving, which can be a little nauseating if you stare at it for too long. Photo courtesy of Angie Armstrong

Funny Music Creator

CLICK HERE FRIENDS

This is an Awesome Video

 

Joke Time with friends

Sahil-“Hey All Its Joke Time!!” Audience-“WTH??!?!?!?!”

If you read this all u’ll find it interesting and if u dont like it….well then u can ignore this what the hell else can i say?! Kill me?!?!? HELL NO!

 

 

Young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.” The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over andasks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy takes the quarters and leaves. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!” Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?” The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over!”

 

bahahaha

 

You Should Follow Me on Twitter Here

5 Ways To Get A Celebrity To Follow You On Twitter.

Some of you joined Twitter for one reason.

Celebrities.

You need access to their minds.  Their non-refundable nuggets of wisdom.

You’ve joined Twitter for this:

Celebrity Tweet

The biggest thrill is when a celebrity follows you.  You’ve been chosen.

And you can totally throw it in the faces of others.

Alyssa Milano follows me!  Who follows you?  Your MOM?

Not to squeeze my own moobs on this, but I have a few celebrities that follow me.  My crown jewel was Jesse James, soon-to-be-ex-husband of Sandra Bullock.

Wait.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too proud of that.

I’ll show you in five simple ways how you, too, can be followed by a celebrity.

1. Find The Right Target.

Tom Hanks?  Too hard.  He follows 27 people.  One for every Oscar he’s won.

Spencer Pratt?  Follows 80,000.  That’s do-able.

Although you’ll have to put up with this.

celebtweets1

2. The Little Guy Runs Everything.

The secret to showing your super hot body to celebrities is to work their network.  Remember that celebrities have a ring of non-celebrities that they turn to.

Managers, agents, guys who make their fun juice drinks!  That’s who you need to key in on.  The fun juice drink guy.  If you can get him to follow you, you’re on your way up.

shutterstock_41066332This guy is thinking about what fun juice drink to make next.

 

3. Do Not Engage.

People think that if they just tweet to celebrities, the celebrity will discover the blossoming personality flowering inside them and add them immediately.

celebtweet3

Really?

What is she supposed to do with that.

4. Get Your Follower/Following Count In Order.

If you want anyone to follow you, not just a celebrity, act like you don’t need them.  That’s what people don’t do.  They follow thousands of people, only to have nobody follow them back.

It’s like dudes who ask out hundreds of chicks only to get one severely drunk girl with cataracts to finally make out with them.

You think anyone wants to be the one who took a chance on you?

via ShutterstockGod bless alcohol and congenital cataracts.

 

5. Have Something Going On.

People want to buy into something.

Take an inventory of your skills and amplify them.

Suppose you’re Rex, a plumber from Melbourne, FL.  Noble profession.  But what if you made a video where you took an iPad and flushed it down a toilet?  Now you’re not just a dude with the name of a Golden Retriever, you’re the guy with the iPad toilet video!

Now you have something to link to.  People want to follow you just to see what you’ll flush down the toilet next.

Please make it Spencer Pratt.

There you have it.  Five quick tips on getting a celebrity to follow you.  I’ll end with this: you don’tneed a celebrity following you.  Your life isn’t going to change if you can suddenly DM Anderson Cooper.

And it’s fleeting.

I remember when Lisa Rinna followed me.  I tweeted and then she immediately unfollowed me.

Devastating.

This was after she complained about how she couldn’t work Twitter.

Apparently, not the ‘unfollowing’ part.

That she could do.

But it’s good.  I’m a big dope with barely anything to say.  The people that follow me on Twitter, including celebrities, could unfollow me any day.

Whatever.

I’ll still have my mom.

meandmymomMy mom will never hurt my emoticons.

 

Lisa Rinna me on Twitter here.

Now Read This: 5 Sites Every Smart Consumer Should Bookmark

Did you hear about the Stars & Stripes sweepstakes scam, where newspaper readers get calls by someone claiming to work for the Federal Trade Commission who tells them they’ve won $470,000 in a contest?

You would if you followed the Better Business Bureau online.

How about the bank fee that eats almost all of the earned interest on a CD? You’d know about it if you read Bob Sullivan’s consumer blog, The Red Tape Chronicles, on MSNBC.com.

Back in 1997, Direct Marketing News estimated each of us sees more ads in one year than people of 50 years ago saw in an entire lifetime. Today, it could be argued that we see more ads in one year than people in 1997 did in a lifetime, had that number remained constant. By many estimates, we’re exposed to more than 3,000 commercial messages a day, through TV, radio, social media and billboards. You can’t turn it off.

And how do we counterbalance it?

We don’t. Instead of demanding actionable news about consumer issues, we – and I include myself in this group — click on the videos with laughing babies and cats playing the piano.

But just like in real life, where a diet of cream puffs and soda will eventually kill you, constant intake of fluffy, crowd-pleasing news will eventually turn you into an idiot customer.

Nothing can be learned from Tiger Woods’ divorce or Justin Bieber’s new haircut that will make you a better consumer. Today’s watchdogs are few and far between, and unless you support them, they may face extinction. Here are the sites I have bookmarked.

To keep on top of the latest scams

Better Business Bureau. I’m well aware of some of the criticism leveled against the BBB, but I read its blog not for critical information about its own members, but about scams. It keeps tabs on them because scams can affect legitimate businesses as much as they do customers, and this organization has a vested interest in keeping scam artists off the streets.

For product-related news and reviews

Consumer Reports is known for its no-holds-barred product ratings. A subscription is required to peruse its main content (and if you subscribe to just one consumer publication, this is it), but its blog, The Consumerist is free and it is a must-read for anyone who wants to keep up on the latest consumer news.

When I’m researching a story, I find myself clicking on Consumer World frequently. It catches some of the more obscure – but equally interesting – consumer news from around the Web. It’s not quite as slick as the more corporate BBB or the well-funded Consumer Reports, but it is no less important.

Issues-oriented consumer features

Written by consumer journalist Bob Sullivan, who is a former colleague of mine at MSNBC, the Red Tape Chronicles blog really digs into consumer issues in an in-depth way. His specialty is finding “gotcha” clauses and fine print – he even wrote a book on the subject – and translating it in a way anyone can understand.

WalletPop, an AOL-owned site has a fine collection of columnists, from Jean Chatzky to the “Consumer Ally.” It’s more of an issues-oriented site, and combined with Red Tape, Consumerist, and others, it rounds out my daily diet of consumer news. WalletPop’s posts are well-written and get to the point, which makes them very readable. Update: WalletPop’s content is being migrated to another AOL-owned site, DailyFinance.com.

Before I forget, let me also throw in a pitch for this site. I blog about customer service issues every week here on Mint.com, and on my customer service wiki, On Your Side (www.onyoursi.de). I hope you’ll consider bookmarking those sites too, because I take the very best of these five sites and try to offer good advice on being a better consumer that reflects the day’s most pressing consumer stories.

Know any good consumer news sites? Send me an email and I’ll include them in a future story.

How to Hack Wifi (and how to avoid being hacked): WEP/WPA/WPA2 (IMP.)

How to Hack Wifi (and how to avoid being hacked): WEP/WPA/WPA2
This guide is meant to show how easy it is to hack wireless networks if the proper security measures are not in place. First I will show how to hack a WEP or WPA/WPA2 Network and then I will give tips on how to avoid getting hacked.

This is important information in our techno-savy culture. If your wireless network is compromised you can be liable for any illegal activity on it. There are numerous stories of child pornographers and black-hat hackers using other peoples wireless networks.

NOTE: Hacking your neighbors or anyone else’s Wifi without their permission is ILLEGAL. Be smart!

Step 1What you Need

What you Need

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-A Computer. (A Laptop works best)-A Wireless Card capable of packet injection.
-If your laptop wireless card can’t do packet injection you can purchase a wireless adapter such as the Netgear WG111 v2 for around $8-$12 on eBay.

-A Live installation of BackTrack either on a CD or USB stick.
-BackTrack 5 Can be found Here
-Create a Live USB Install Here

Step 2Hack WEP

Hack WEP
WEP is the predecessor of WPA and has been hacked for the past 5+ years yet people continue to use it. With the instructions below we can crack WEP in under 15 minutes.You can crack WEP from the command line but there is an easy GUI interface in backtrack which makes it a much less painful experience for those who are scared of command prompts.

1. Boot into BackTrack

2. Click on the Backtrack applications menu -> Backtrack -> Exploitation tools -> Wireless exploitation -> WLAN Exploitation -> gerix-wifi-cracker-ng (This will open up the GUI interface seen in the picture).

3. Go to the configuration menu and select the wireless interface wlan0
-Click on Enable/Disable Monitor Mode (this will put the wireless card into monitor mode).
-Select the newly created mon0 interface.

4. Now click on the WEP tab at the top of the window.
-Click on “Start sniffing and logging” and leave the terminal open.
-Once the wireless network you want to crack* shows up (it has to be WEP encryption of course) select the WEP Attacks (with clients). *note that the PWR has to be high enough to work so the closer you can get, the better.
-There you click on “Associate with AP using fake auth”, wait a few seconds and click on “ARP request replay”.

5. Once the Data number reaches over 10,000 you are ready to try (if the data is coming fast wait until 20 or 30,000 to be safe) and crack the key, but don’t close any windows yet.
-Go to the cracking tab and click on “Aircrack-ng – Decrypt WEP password” under Wep Cracking.

It will take a few seconds to minutes to crack the password and then you are good to go.

Step 3Hack WPA/WPA2

Hack WPA/WPA2

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At least WPA and WPA2 are safe right? Wrong. WPA and WPA2 are both crackable but the time it takes to crack depends on the strength of their password.-Boot into BackTrack
-Open up Konsole which is a command line utility built into BackTrack. It is the Black Box in the Lower-Left Hand Corner (See Image).
We will now be entering the following commands into the command line noted by Bold as well as explanations as to what they do:

-The following commands stop the wireless interface so you can change your mac address, this is important because your mac address is a unique identifier so faking one is a good idea if you are accessing a network you don’t have permission to. (which by the way I wholly condemn)

1:
airmon-ng stop wlan0
ifconfig wlan0 down
macchanger –mac 00:11:22:33:44:55 wlan0
airmon-ng start wlan0

2:
-Now we will put the airodump-ng tool into monitor mode, this will allow us to see all of the wireless networks around us (See the first Picture).

airodump-ng mon0

Now choose the network you want to hack and take note of the BSSID, and the Channel it is one as well as the ESSID. The PWR has to be fairly high to be able to hack it, this is determined by how close you are to the wireless router. The closer you are, the better.

Once you have chosen the wireless network enter the following into the terminal:
This will write capture packets and put them into the “filename” file, we are trying to capture the handshake between the router and wireless connection which will give us the key we need to crack.

3:
airodump-ng mon0 –channel * –bssid **:**:**:**:**:** -w filename

The following step is optional but is highly recommended as it will speed up the process a great deal.

Once “WPA handshake: **:**:**:**:**:**” appears in the top right-hand corner we can move on. If you are having trouble getting the WPA handshake to occur then do step 4.

4:
aireplay-ng -0 1 -a **:**:**:**:**:** -c **:**:**:**:**:** mon0

What this step (4) does is it deauthorizes a wireless connection and trie to re-establish it so it will generate a new handshake to capture. This step ends once you have captured the handshake.

5:
aircrack-ng –w wordlist.lst -b **:**:**:**:**:** filename.cap

Step 5 is now trying to crack the password in “filename.cap” using a list of words, here called “wordlist.lst” you can download a good 200 million word dictionary here (128MB but unzipped is 800MB).

Your computer has to compute the hash value of every password in that list but a computer can go through those 200 million passwords in 6-12 hours.

6.

If the password isn’t found in the dictionary you can try and brute-force the password with this command: (Note this could take a very long time depending on their password strength).

/pentest/password/jtr/john –stdout –incremental:all | aircrack-ng -b **:**:**:**:**:** -w – filename.cap

Step 4Secure Your Own Wireless Network

Secure Your Own Wireless Network

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Hopefully you gained some insight into how to not get your own wireless connection hacked:1. Use WPA2 (WPA2-AES) if available and by all means never use WEP.
2. Don’t base your password on a dictionary word. The next section focuses on passwords in general.
3. In your router settings you can usually hide your ESSID (the name of the wireless network) this will add a small layer of security.
4. In your router there is probably a mac-address filtering service where you can specify the mac addresses that are allowed to connect. This will make sure that only your approved devices can connect to your network. (obviously a problem though if you have a guest over and wants to connect to your Wifi).

Step 5Passwords

Passwords
You have to have good passwords in this day and age. If not your credit card information, your personal information and identity are available to those who want to use it and abuse it. Here are some guidelines to coming up with a secure password:1. At least 8 characters.
2. At least one number, letter and special character ie: $ # % ^ @ !
3. NOT based on a dictionary word
4. Multiple transitions: ie: aaa111aaa111 not aaaa11111.

How can I remember these passwords?

Come up with a word such as: calculus and substitute numbers and other characters for letters ie: c@1cu1u$
This is still based on a dictionary word though so you should still make it harder such as appending something to the end or beginning.

I also highly recommend using a different password for every website, how can you do this easily? Remember random variables in algebra? Have a random variable in your password that is based on the website or some other information.

IE: XpasswordY where the first X is the last letter of the website name and the last Y is the first letter of the website name:

So the Instructables website password would be SpasswordI or your Facebook password would be KpasswordF and your Hotmail password will be LpasswordH.

It might seem like a lot but it’s worth the time to prevent the potential theft of your money, identity and your life ruined.

Cyber-Crimes Pose ‘Existential’ Threat, FBI Warns

Despite the increased frequency and severity of online crime and espionage in 2011, many American corporations and consumers are still not taking the threat seriously, the FBI’s top cyber official said Thursday.Cyber Threat

The risk posed by criminal hackers is “existential, meaning it could eliminate whole companies,” said Shawn Henry, the FBI’s executive assistant director. If hackers were able to tamper with critical infrastructure such as the power grid, “it could actually cause death,” Henry said in remarks at the International Conference on Cyber Security in New York.

To highlight the growing threat, Henry cited several recent FBI investigations, such as one involving a smaller company that went out of business after hackers stole $5 million from accounts, another concerning a larger firm that “virtually overnight” lost a decade of research and development worth $1 billion, and still another regarding hackers who encrypted millions of records of a health services company and demanded money for the password.

“We’ve seen the number and sophistication of the attacks by these cyber actors increase dramatically,” Henry said.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen, primarily through the financial services sector, just in the last couple years,” he said. An organized crime ring in Eastern Europe, for example, earned about $750,000 per week from cyber theft, he added.

Henry’s warnings came after what some have called the Year of the Hacker. Numerous major organizations, from Sony to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, revealed last year that hackers had infiltrated their networks to steal corporate secrets or leak sensitive customer data.

Many security breaches last year were attributed to the hacker group Anonymous, which claimed responsibility over the holidays for bringing down the servers of global intelligence firm Stratfor and stealing thousands of credit card numbers and other customer information.

But Henry made no mention of the group in his remarks. Instead, he said today’s most dangerous hackers generally fit three profiles: nation states targeting research and development, intellectual property and corporate strategies of American companies; terrorists who have shown a growing interest in using cyber attacks against critical infrastructure; and organized criminals wielding botnets (or networks of zombie computers) to attack corporate computer networks.

The FBI is also noticing more “persistent threats,” hackers who access a company network “for many months, in some cases years” without detection, Henry said.

In one case, Henry said, “the administrator of a network … had no concept or understanding that an adversary had been pilfering data, viewing data and all the transactions within that organizations for a very long time.”

To combat rising cyber-crime, Henry said, the FBI has taken several new measures, such as embedding agents with police departments across Eastern Europe, including Estonia, Romania and Ukraine. Such efforts have paid dividends, he said, citing Operation Ghost Click, a two-year FBI investigation that led to the arrests of six men from Estonia for allegedly running a sophisticated Internet fraud ring that netted more than $14 million in online advertising revenue.

The growing cyber risks threaten not just corporations but also consumers, Henry said. The advent of new technology, particularly smartphones, has opened up new attack vectors for hackers. Many Americans now conduct personal banking by accessing Wi-Fi hot spots on their smartphones, which can lead them directly into traps set by cybercriminals.

“We’ve seen adversaries who set up these Wi-Fi hotspots intentionally to pilfer data,” Henry said.

Hackers working within organizations, or “insider threats” have also become a growing risk, he said. In February an Apple employee was convicted of transmitting confidential information to Asian suppliers of iPhone and iPod accessories in return for more than $1 million dollars in kickbacks, he said.

Yet despite the growing cyber-security threats, many organizations continue to ignore it, Henry said: “Either they don’t recognize it, they don’t understand it or they don’t care.”

Said Henry: “They look at many risks but they don’t see this risk — the loss of all their intellectual property, the loss of all their corporate strategies into the ether.”

Your Phone’s Biggest Security Risk

Do you have a sexy pic of your girlfriend on your phone? What would she do to you if it ended up on the Internet? This risk is greater than you might think—especially if you own an Android—according to research from North Carolina State University.

Certain Android phones like the EVO 4G and HTC Legend have preset apps that allow access to personal information or exposed phone features without requesting necessary permissions for the actual use, the researchers discovered. The apps are built on top of Google’s baseline Android software and are often used to notify users if they have missed a call or received a text message, explains Xuxian Jiang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of computer science at North Carolina State.

The problem: Hackers then access these backdoor apps and record phone calls, send text messages, and see personal information you send.

Jiang’s team told all of the manufacturers about the risk as soon as they discovered it. But that doesn’t mean you’re entirely safe. A 2011 Juniper Networks Global Threat Center study found in May that malware attacks were up 400 percent since the summer of 2010.

Michael Gregg, cyber expert with Superior Solutions Inc., offers these tips on how to keep the information on your phone secure.

· Turn off apps and services you aren’t using. Hackers wait in WiFi hot spots and look for open apps like a GPS tracker to link into your phone. They gain access to the apps and browsers you use, take information from your personal email, and can even steal your identity.

· Make a great password. The best practice is to use a passphrase. To start, think of a phrase and then turn it into a complex password. As an example, “rock and roll forever” becomes “Rock&roll4ever.” It’s upper case, lower case, special character, and numeric. And as it’s a phrase its much harder for an attacker to guess but easy for the user to remember.

· Encrypt sensitive data. Most BlackBerry, iPhone and Android smartphones have built-in encryption software. For more advanced security a third party like Whisper Systems has downloadable software to make sure that even if someone gets your files, they can’t read them. Do it for any files containing personal information like your address, birthday, or anything that you wouldn’t want anyone else knowing.

· Lock others out of your phone. Apps like The Perfect App Protector (free for Android), Smart Lock ($1.80 for Android), Lock Apps ($2.99 for BlackBerry) and Pic Lock 2.0 (free for iPhone) keep your photos, videos, and files safe by closing them to backdoor applications. Just ask the RNC: A reporter bought a BlackBerry formerly used by a Republican, which just happened to have Gov. Schwarzenegger’s personal cell phone. We’re sure the Governator wasn’t a big fan of the crank calls.

· Be wary of “SMishing”. Hackers have gotten creative and will send texts appearing to be from your bank. Only use official bank websites or apps, and if something looks suspicious always call your bank to verify the sender.

· Install anti-virus software. Many smartphones are now more advanced than computers. Jiang recommends the free NetQin Mobile Security software to all of his friends with Android and BlackBerry phones. For iPhone check out VirusBarrier iOS $2.99.

· Catch the thief yourself. There are two types of apps that are great for getting your phone back if ever stolen. Gregg recommends getting both.

-GPS tracker. If your phone is ever stolen, an app like TekTrak Pro ($4.99 for Android), Mobile Defense (free for Android), Find My Phone ($2.99 for BlackBerry) will show your phone’s current coordinates. The iCloud allows users to track their phone’s coordinates but the free Find my iPhone guarantees people cannot turn off the cloud system.

-The Gotya! Face Trap! App for Android $1.99. This app takes a picture whenever your screen lock is entered incorrectly. After taking the picture, it acquires the location of your device and forms a Google maps link, sending it with the time stamped picture to your email/Facebook helping you and the police track him down.

How to use Google + – a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK ME HOW TO USE GOOGLE + PROPERLY SO I CONTACTED MY FRIEND LISA AND MADE THIS POST FOR YOU

ENJOY!!

Google + has arrived and pretty much every SEO I know are already on it. Yesterday was probably a complete waste of a day for most SEOs as pretty much everyone was busy playing with Google +. I was no exception. In thewords of  Matt Cutts: “It’s like crack, but in a good way”.

Photos 1024x609 How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

So I’ve spent some time going through the current key features to give you a “crash course” in Google +:

Circles

This is the major functionality that although initially looks just like facebook friends, differ in one important area; categorisation! Basically, circles is a way of categorising your Google + contacts into groups. For example below I’ve added circles such as “SEO Peeps” which has every SEO contact I have added, but then I have also added a separate circle for “UK SEOs” to further categories. In addition I have separate circles for my “Friends” (you know those people you see in person) and “Family”. To me this is a very good way of social networking as I have a lot of digital content (whether it’s blogposts, videos or even images) that I want to share with one group but not necessarily with another. On facebook my mum and dad are forever asking (and worse; commenting) on my SEO related content I share. It’s just not really relevant to them.  Equally, having recently (ok so 8 months ago) had another baby and I’m sure a lot of my SEO colleagues are getting sick and tired of seeing loads of baby pictures.Most importantly the categorisation in Google + is EASY to do, you can add as many circles as you like and you can have one person in several circles. The only potential issue is for those of us that resembles Monica (in Friends) and over-organise. I still to this day can’t understand my original “filing system” of del.icio.us tags.

Google+circles2 How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

Photos

Functionality of uploading photos works pretty much the same way as facebook, but I have a sneaky feeling it will expand and have added functionality in no time at all. I bet you photos in Google + will rank VERY highly in Google Image search before you know it.

When you upload photos you get asked to create a new album or add to an existing album. After you have uploaded the photos you can go into each photo and “add tag” just like facebook. Any pictures you have been tagged in will then also appear on your profile and as “pictures of you” within the photo section (again just like facebook). The only thing I’m missing from a “tagging level” is the opportunity to do the tagging on upload level so I don’t need to go into each image. There are also some nice additional functionalities at this level such as: edit the picture, text and also adding comments which comes up at the right of the picture as a speech bubble.

photoactions 1024x548 How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

The one thing the photo section has that facebook don’t have (as far as I know) is the ability to share with specific circles only (see below). This is a nice function as thereare some photos you might only want your friends to see and some that are solely work related.

CirclesToShareAlbumWith How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

Hangouts

I had my Google + hangout virginity taken yesterday when I “hung out” with Sam Murray over Google +, whilst he was sitting next to me I might add, ehm yeah that’s slightly lame but we just wanted to see what it was like. So what is the “hangout” all about? It’s basically a way of hanging out with loads of people at the same time using video chat. You can add one or even several of your circles to your “hang out”.

HangOut How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

When you have invited people to join your “hang out” a post will appear in their stream. If there are less than 25 people in a hang out they will also get a notification that they are invited to a hangout. And as we discovered if I start a hangout but a hangout is already going on I get notified and can join the current one instead. The most interesting thing about a hangout though is that it’s not “closed”, since anyone in the hangout can invite anyone else, people you don’t know may know and can join the hang out.

hangoutwithsam How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

Instant Photo Upload from Mobile

Now this is pretty cool, it automatically puts all photos you take on your phone to a private album on your Google +, you can then decide whether you want to share them with any circles. BUT it can only be done if you have an Android phone, booo!

Sparks

This is basically a personalised content feed into your stream, you tell “Sparks” what  you are “in to” and they will send you stuff (videos, content etc) that’s relevant to you. To be perfectly honest I wouldn’t use this as it would just fill up my stream with crap that I haven’t got time to read. But for the mainstream this I suppose could be useful(ish). To be honest you have RSS, Google Desktop and other stuff to do this. For me sparks is not so sparky, but I have already seen loads of people raving that they really like it.

Huddle

Huddle is basically a “group chat”, allows you to chat with several people at once over your mobile. Basically text messaging on steroids. But as it stand I STILL haven’t been able to figure out how to “huddle” as there are no obvious links or mention of it. I’ve just been told that you can only “huddle” if you have an Android fun which is a bit rubbish.

Is Google + just another facebook?

I have already seen loads of people blogging and tweeting about Google Plus saying that it’s just like facebook, heck someone has already done a blogpost about how to make it look EXACTLY like facebook  (which is just weird). But the BIG difference between facebook and Google + is that you can categorise your sharing.For me this is a BIG plus (haha get it? Plus), as I have a lot of things that I want to share with my SEO friends and colleagues but that I don’t necessarily want to share with my family and friends . This is a simple, yet genius difference between the two. Google + profile and posts are also public, the profiles can be seen by everyone, and each “post” has its own unique URL making Google + a contender with Twitter for indexable shared content. Lastly and maybe most importantly to us SEO and Social Media specialists, this initiative from Google proves they are taking social seriously. Merging Google properties into Google + and integrating it with the SERPs WILL have an impact. Let’s just hope it’s not too easy to game from a spam point of view . All in all, my initial thoughts are that this could definitely work, Google’s big challenge will be tidying up the bugs and usability kinks fast enough for the actual launch. And that launch need to be pretty sharpish, it would be such a shame to lose out on the “buzz” (pardon the pun) that all the early adopter (aka geeks) are making. Lastly I think it will be of utmost importance to get Apps (for iPhone and Blackberry) launched ASAP, it would be such a mistake of Google if they launched it without mobile apps.

Lastly here are some Google + shortcuts that might be handy:

J = scroll down

K= scroll up

Enter =  Start commenting

@Username = links to the user so that they can see it in their profile/stream

“text” = makes the text inside the brackets bold

_text_ = makes the text italics

For more information on Google + check out these links:

Google’s official guide to using Google + 
Google + Help Section
Google’s introduction blogpost to Google + 

Would be great to hear your thoughts for those of you that are on Google + already, plus and minus and so on. See you in the SEO circle icon smile How to use Google +   a quick guide and thoughts on Google Plus

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