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Why Google+ is best for 'real-life streaming'

Mike Elgan | April 8, 2013
Mike Elgan says Google+ is the most capable system for so-called "real-life streaming." He lists four reasons for his selection of that social network.

Google+ does non-annoying location remembering and sharing with some surprising features.

Let's take a look at one of them.

This is the profile of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. If you hover your mouse pointer over his location information near the bottom of his profile banner photo, you'll see that the picture is replaced by his location on a map for as long as you hover.

This is cool for two reasons. First, Hadfield is currently orbiting the planet, so his location changes constantly. Second, this feature is available to everyone.

What does this have to do with "real-life streaming"? Well, nothing, except it's a bonus feature that happens automatically when you use Google+ to keep track of some of the places you visit -- whoever you authorized to know your location can see it by hovering over your profile.

Here's how to easily capture your physical location from time to time in your Google+ lifestream, and all the time on your profile banner picture.

First, go to Google+ Settings and check the box next to "Enable Location Sharing." Just below that, you can choose exactly who has permission to view your location. It can be everybody, nobody or anybody in between.

Next, install Google Latitude on your Android phone or iPhone. Under the app's "Settings," turn on "Background Updating."

That will update your Google+ profile with the location feature.

Finally, when you're at some location you want to remember in your "real-life stream," tap the "Check in" button, choose the location, and choose who is allowed to see your location. Then click "Check in here."

Note that the public or private settings don't affect your lifestream. No matter which you choose, the check-in will be visible to you on your Google+ stream. Also: A live link to the Google+ Local entry (with details about the place) will be added to your post automatically.

Google's approach to location check-ins is super non-annoying. There are no badges to unlock, no mayors and, best of all, no spamming your friends with your check-ins.

Even if you choose to post to "Public," that post will not spam the streams of people who have circled you. In order to see a Public check-in, they would have to actually go to your profile.

Also: when you turn off location sharing on your phone, the profile map goes away -- it doesn't retain your last-known location.

Once your post is in your stream, you can use the post's drop-down menu to add thoughts and notes or a hashtag, if you like.

Another way to remember the places you go is to "review" them on Google Local, which is integrated into Google+. Just click the Local button on the left of Google+ and search for the restaurant, hotel or business. Click "write a review," rate it, type a few words, then click "Publish." It won't spam your circles, but it will put the establishment under a "Reviews" tab on your profile. That "Reviews" tab becomes a permanent record of all the places you like best (and why).


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