Google launches Google+ Communities, competitor to Facebook Groups

google plus communities

Covered in detail on the Google Official Blog earlier this week, the development team working on Google+ has rolled out a new feature called Google+ Communities. Somewhat similar to the concept of Facebook Groups, Google+ users can create public or private communities that are focused on a specific topic. Some of the more popular public communities that have generated interest among Google+ users since the launch of the new feature cover topics such as photography, space, Linux, Star Wars, running, parenting, video games, cooking and sports. 

google plus community setupWhen creating a public community, Google+ users have the option of requiring moderator approval before another user can join the community. When creating a private community, Google+ users can hide it from the search function within Google+.

Private communities require a direct link to access the group. Similar to a regular Google+ profile, the Google+ user that sets up the community can give it a name as well as write a tagline for the group and select a photo that best represents the community. 

In the About section, Google+ users can create a set of guidelines for the community in addition to discussion topics. When a member of the community posts content in the community feed, they will have the option of assigning a discussion topic to the content. This allows communities to categorize and group similar posts together. For instance, one of the photo communities includes discussion topics such as “Best Photo of 2012” and “Gear Talk” as well as different forms of photography. In addition to the content feed, members of a Google+ community have the ability to start video hangouts with other community members as well as create events for the group.  

To help Google+ users find groups that they are more likely to join, Google will display communities similar to the communities that a Google+ user has already created or joined. The development team has also included a search function to help users locate new groups.

google plus photo communityBeyond the launch of Google+ communities, Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra also released usage numbers for the Google+ social network. Approximately 500 million people have upgraded from a normal Google account to a Google+ account and 235 million are actively using their Google+ account in Google applications.

Examples of this include using the Google+ video hangouts feature within Gmail or hitting the +1 button on applications in the Google Play store. In addition, approximately 135 million people are visiting the Google+ home page ( monthly. That’s a 35 percent increase compared to the number of Google+ visitors during September 2012. 

Gundotra didn’t publicly announce the amount of time a typical Google+ user spends on the social network each month. A report released by comScore during early 2012 found that the average Google+ user spends approximately three minutes a month on the site, but Google’s social network was still relatively new at that point. Over the past year, the Google+ development team has worked to integrate elements of Google+ into other Google products including search, Gmail, Google Talk and YouTube. However, it’s likely that Google+ monthly usage still lags far behind Facebook. According to 2012 comScore data, the typical Facebook user spends between six to seven hours on the social network each month. 

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Digital Trends Live

DT Daily: Google Pixel Night Sight, Surface Studio 2, and Netflix at half price

Today on DT Daily, Greg Nibler was joined by Adrian Warner to talk trending topics like the new Google Pixel Night Sight and we got our hands on the $3,500 Microsoft computer that's giving Apple a run for its money.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Social Media

Dine and dash(board): Make a Yelp reservation from your car’s control panel

Already in the car, but can't decide where to eat? Yelp Reservations can now be added to some dashboard touchscreens. Yelp Reservations searches for restaurants within 25 miles of the vehicle's location.

Hackers sold 120 million private Facebook messages, report says

Up to 120 million private Facebook messages were being sold online by hackers this fall. The breach was first discovered in September and the messages were obtained through unnamed rogue browser extensions. 
Social Media

Facebook opens pop-up stores at Macy’s, but they’re not selling the Portal

Facebook has opened pop-up stores at multiple Macy's, though they're not selling Facebook's new Portal device. Instead, they're showcasing small businesses and brands that are already popular on Facebook and Instagram.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. You're in luck -- we've gathered 23 of the best subreddits to help…
Social Media

Facebook Messenger will soon let you delete sent messages

A feature coming to Facebook Messenger will let you delete a message for up to 10 minutes after you send it. The company promised the feature months ago and this week said it really is on its way ... "soon."
Social Media

Pinterest brings followed content front and center with full-width Pin format

Want to see Pinterest recommendations, or just Pins from followed users? Now Pinners can choose with a Pinterest Following feed update. The secondary feed eliminates recommendation and is (almost) chronological.
Smart Home

Facebook's Alexa-enabled video-calling devices begin shipping

Facebook's Portal devices are video smart speakers with Alexa voice assistants built in that allow you to make calls. The 15-inch Portal+ model features a pivoting camera that follows you around the room as you speak.
Social Media

Vine fans, your favorite video-looping app is coming back as Byte

Vine fans were left disappointed in 2017 when its owner, Twitter, pulled the plug on the video-looping app. But now one of its co-founders has promised that a new version of the app, called Byte, is coming soon.

Social media use increases depression and anxiety, experiment shows

A study has shown for the first time a causal link between social media use and lower rates of well-being. Students who limited their social media usage to 30 minutes a day showed significant decreases in anxiety and fear of missing out.
Social Media

Twitter boss hints that an edit button for tweets may finally be on its way

Twitter has been talking for years about launching an edit button for tweets, but it still hasn't landed. This week, company boss Jack Dorsey addressed the matter again, describing a quick-edit button as "achievable."