Google+ Finally Gets Photo Sharing Parity On iPhone/iPad/iOS

In an update to iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps yesterday, Google+ finally got the kind of sharing of photos that Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networks have had for some time. Now, when I go to share a photo, one of my options is Google+:

Photo Dec 22 1 07 16 PM

I realize that this is old news to Android users, but for those of us on iOS who have wanted to share photos on Google+, it seemed strange that we couldn't do so from the built in photos application within iOS. Sure, we could do it through the G+ app on the iPhone or iPad, but not from within the native photos app.

This functionality appeared after I installed version 4.8.0:

Googleplus 4 8 0

I did have to tap the " More ... " button once and then turn on the Google+ sharing, but after doing that I was then able to easily share to G+ the next time.

Great to see G+ finally getting parity with the other social networks. I look forward to being able to more easily share more photos!


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



Have You Joined The "FIR Podcast Community" On Google+?

Fir communityIf you are interested in social media, PR, marketing, podcasting and similar topics, have you joined the "FIR Podcast Community" on Google+? While the community is intended for listeners of the "For Immediate Release (FIR)" network of podcasts it is just a great place to go to keep track of current issues, ideas and trends within the world of PR/marketing/communications.

The community has a good mixture of posts by FIR podcast hosts about their shows and also from listeners and others who post links and engage in topics that are along the lines of the themes of various FIR shows.

It's one of the communities on Google+ to which I regularly go and participate in as often as I can. Pretty much every time I visit I see some links that I find helpful.

Anyway, if you have not yet joined the FIR Podcast Community on Google+, I'd encourage you to do so!
 


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



My Unexpected Comment On YouTube - Via The Google+ Integration

Today I received a personal reminder of the new strong linkage between Google+ and YouTube.  Given that today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the USA, I posted a link to a YouTube video of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream" speech to my Google+ account.  

I had forgotten, though, that... 

Every post on Google+ about a YouTube link is DISPLAYED ON YOUTUBE as a comment!

So a little while later when I went to get the link again to pass along to someone else, I refreshed the page in my browser and there was my smiling face staring back at me...

Martin Luther King I Have A Dream Speech August 28 1963 YouTube 6

Now, in this particular case, I don't particularly mind. I just had forgotten that this integration was already in place between Google+ and YouTube. Google rolled it out in November and almost immediately came under fire for increasing spam comments on YouTube (which they are now trying to address through new tools for YouTube creators).

I need to remember this, too, because when posting a YouTube link to Google+ I may be thinking about it in the context of my Google+ page and the content I post there... but I have to remember that my text will also be seen by people viewing the video on YouTube and without the context of having perhaps regularly seen my Google+ content.

Similarly, I need to remember that ANY sharing on Google+ will wind up on YouTube. For instance, on Facebook I have on occasion re-shared a video that I thought friends might be interested in... but that I might not necessarily want to have my name attached to. It might just be a silly video that I found funny.

With this G+ integration, however, any time I re-share a video in this manner on Google+ my name and my comment are going to appear on the YouTube page for that video. I'm not sure how I feel about this.

I will say it will make me be much more careful about what kind of YouTube links I share on Google+.

How about you? What do you think about this integration between Google+ and YouTube?

P.S. And going back to the original video link that started this all, if you haven't watched Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech, it truly IS a powerful speech!


UPDATE: Here's an issue with the integration - my Google+ comment is displayed over on YouTube, but my name "Dan York" on YouTube links over to my YouTube account instead of my Google+ account. While that makes sense: 1) I don't use that YouTube account; and 2) I left the comment in the context of Google+ and now people have no way to see that. So it's a kind of a one-way integration...

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



My New Podcast: "FIR On Technology" Episode 1 About Google+ Hangouts On Air

Firontechnology 300What are Google+ “Hangouts On Air” (HOA) all about and how can communicators best use them? How does a “Hangout On Air” differ from a “Hangout”? What kind of technology do you need to know to use them? What are some tips and tricks for working most effectively with a Google+ HOA? What is the linkage to YouTube? How do you get started?

Those were all questions I addressed with my guest Randy Resnick in the first episode of a brand new podcast I'm down doing called "FIR On Technology with Dan York". You can listen on the episode page (where there are also links to HOA resources) or here:

The interview was fun to do and from comments in the FIR Podcast Community on Google+ has already been a help to multiple listeners.

As I noted in the introduction post on the For Immediate Release (FIR) website, the goal of the overall "FIR On Technology" podcast is to answer questions such as these:

How can communicators best use new tools such as, say, Google+ Hangouts On Air to tell their stories in new ways or to reach new audiences? Are there tips and tricks they should be aware of? What is new in the latest release of WordPress? Why should someone in PR and marketing care about something like IPv6 or HTML5?

For close to 9 years now I've been contributing weekly reports into the regular For Immediate Release (FIR)podcast hosted by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. Now, with the creation of the "FIR Podcast Network" and the launch of new shows, it was logical to launch a technology-focused podcast where I could do a deeper dive than just the 5 minutes in the regular FIR episodes.

Please do note - my regular weekly FIR reports WILL continue!

Nothing changes there... it's just that these "FIR On Technology" episodes will allow for more time to get into specific topics at a higher level of detail.  I'd love to hear your feedback about this episode or the overall idea either as comments to this blog post or via social media or email: 

In particular, if there are any topics you'd really like to see me address on future episodes... or if you want to pitch me on why it might be interesting to interview you or a client, I'm open to that as well.

The "FIR On Technology with Dan York" podcast will NOT be a "regular" podcast in that it will not be on a specific interval, i.e. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. It is instead "a periodic podcast" meaning that the episodes will come out whenever I have time to record and produce them. I'm aiming for at least monthly, but there may be more at different times.

If you'd like to follow along, you can:

A subscription option via iTunes will be available soon.

I'm greatly appreciative of the FIR podcast community who has been very supportive of me doing this podcast - and of course I'm deeply grateful to Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson for their support and continuing to involve me in the growing world of "FIR".

Please do join in and follow along... there is a LOT of technology and tools out there to talk about with communicators!

P.S. The music I am using (with his permission) for the intro and outro comes from my friend Mark Knox in Ottawa, whose music can be found on his SoundCloud account.


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



Awesomeness! Jetpack 2.7 Lets WordPress Users Auto-Post Content To Google+

JetpackNow here is an awesome gift for the holidays! Any self-hosted WordPress users who use the JetPack plugin can now automatically publicize their posts out to a Google+ account... including to a Google+ page. This is all courtesy of the new Jetpack 2.7 release that happened yesterday.

For quite some time, users of Jetpack (and other similar WordPress plugins) have been able to auto-post out to Twitter and Facebook using the "Publicize" component of Jetpack, but posting to a Google+ page always required you to manually go to G+ to post the link. As a result, it was just yet-another-step that sometimes didn't happen. This was particularly true for scheduled posts that you might arrange to go out at particular times when staff were not available to post the link into Google+. (I've scheduled posts like this any number of times when I'm going to be spending a day traveling on planes.)

This changes with Jetpack 2.7 and puts Google+ on equal footing with other services. Now when you configure "Publicize" within Jetpack you see this screen (shown on my Monadnock Curling Club web site):

Publicize settings 2

You then are asked how you want to connect to Google+ for this WordPress site. You can either connect to your own G+ account or to any of the Google+ Pages for which you are a manager:

Google Accounts

You next must approve the permissions and indicate who you want to see your posts:

Gplus permissions 2

One final step is to approve whether you want all users of the blog to be able to publicize the post through this Google+ connection:

Sharing Settings Monadnock Curling Club WordPress 3

That's it!

Now all your future posts will be publicized through Google+! I'd note that you do have the option to control on a per-post basis what services your content is auto-posted to. When you are in a post you can see right in the "Publish" box an area for "Publicize" and by clicking on an "Edit" link you can have control over what services get the post automatically and what the message will be:

Add New Post Monadnock Curling Club WordPress

In a very nice feature I found that you can click "Add New" and go through the process again to connect additional Google+ pages or accounts. Here I've configured posts to this blog to go not only to the Monadnock Curling Club page but also to my personal Google+ account:

Sharing Settings Monadnock Curling Club WordPress 6

All in all a very cool addition to Jetpack! Well worth the upgrade to 2.7 (or the installation of Jetpack if you're not using it yet). Looking forward to now being able to more regularly get my content into Google+.


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



Google+ Changes Cover Photo Size Again - Removes Huge Image, Moves Profile Photo to Left

If you haven't looked at your Google+ profile or page for a bit... you might want to do so because Google has changed the image size again. It used to be a huge image that took up a great amount of your screen - and then "collapsed" in a funky way when you scrolled down the page. Your name and your profile photo appeared at the bottom of the photo and the photo was greyed out a bit.

That's all gone.

Now your photo is a good bit smaller and does not collapse as the page scrolls... it just disappears off the page as you would expect it to. Most significantly, though, your profile photo and info is on the left side of the photo, taking over about a quarter of the image. Here's what my Google+ page looks like now:

Dan York Google 2

You'll note that the profile photo and info now blurs the image behind them. But... if you had taken the time to create a cover photo with something centered in the middle of the photo, you'll probably want to adjust that to shift the image over a bit.

I've not seen any formal specifications out of anyone at Google about this new image size. The only real note I've seen is this Google+ post by Google engineer Karthik Nagaraj just indicating the change was happening. He indicates that basically any 16:9 image should work.

On my Mac using Google Chrome I did a screen capture of that part a G+ page and that told me that the overall image was 1060x438 and the main visible (non-blurred) part was 780x438 (which math then says leaves 280x438 behind the blurred part. That, however, is just how it was displayed in Chrome on my Mac... I don't precisely how it will appear on other browsers on other operating systems.

The main point is that about the leftmost 25% (actually 26.4% if those numbers I measured) of the image will be blurred, so keep that in mind when choosing an image.

Given that I find myself using Google+ a good bit more these days, I do like these changes... it just would have been great if Google gave all of us a bit more of a clue about the change rather than just waking up to find that it had been done. Ah, well... given how much I've paid for Google+ (i.e. nothing) I guess I can't really complain, eh?

What do you think of the new cover photo size? Do you like this better?


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



Finally! Google+ Starts Rolling Out Custom URLs To Regular Users

Dan York About Google 2Finally! We can now get "custom URLs" for our Google+ accounts! As of this morning you can now find me at the nice and easy URL of:
https://plus.google.com/+DanYork/
One of the supreme annoyances of using Google+ has been the horribly ugly long URLs you have had to use for your profile. You couldn't give people an easy URL to find you on the service and there was no way that normal people would realistically remember the long numbers. Google rolled out "custom URL" support for some brands and celebrities earlier but all of us "regular users" were left with the ugly URLs.

That changed yesterday and was noted with a post on Google+, "Expanding the availability of custom URLs". Tipped off to the change by Neville Hobson's post on G+, I went into my Google+ profile and nicely found this message waiting for me at the top of the page

Google custom url 2

I was delighted to see that "+DanYork" was being offered to me and so I clicked the "Get URL" button to see this screen:

Google get custom url 2

One more click brought me to a confirmation screen nothing that I can't change the URL or transfer it to anyone else:

Google custom url confirm 2

And that was it! My Google+ profile now is at https://plus.google.com/+DanYork/.

Very cool to see and this will definitely make it so much easier to refer people to my profile on the service (and therefore will make it much easier for people to find me and use Google+).

Now, what I really want is this kind of custom URL for my Google+ Pages, and I'm seeing from comments on G+ that some people have this for their pages already. The post from Google says the criteria for custom URLs will be:

If your profile meets the following criteria, you’ll now be able to claim a custom URL:
- Has a profile photo, and
- Has at least 10 followers, and
- Has an account that's at least 30 days old

Meanwhile, any brand or business that has a linked website or is a verified local business can claim a custom URL for their Google+ page.

I do have linked websites for some of my Google+ Pages ... but I'm not yet seeing the option to get a custom URL. As Google indicates, this feature is being rolled out this week, so hopefully I'll see it soon.

I've been using Google+ a great amount these days, and so I'm thrilled to see this new feature that will make it much easier to find people and to refer people to my profile and content.

What about you? Have you been offered a custom URL on Google+ yet? Have you claimed it?


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



A Critical Audio Setting In Live Streaming With Google+ Hangouts On Air (That I Missed!)

Do you have the correct audio stream configured in Google+ Hangouts On Air (HOA) when you are doing live streaming of an event using a HOA? When we ran our live stream out of ION Krakow on Monday, I mentioned that we hit the undocumented 4-hour maximum time limit, but we actually had a larger issue that for the first 1 hour and 45 minutes -
our live stream's audio was terrible!

Truly un-listenable at times. :-(

It turned out that while I had correctly configured Google+ HOA to use the proper video setting for the "Wirecast Virtual Camera", I didn't realize that I had to separately configure the audio seeting to specifically pull in the audio stream from my capture device:

Googleplus hangouts audio settings 450

I just mistakenly assumed that HOA would pull the audio from the camera... but instead it was getting the "Default microphone", meaning the mic on my laptop.

Interestingly, we didn't discover this in testing because when I was doing the testing with a wireless microphone I was sitting at my laptop and so naturally the audio quality was excellent. I did walk up to the front of the room at one point but even then there was no one in the room and my voice could be heard well.

The good news is that I had a separate recording going from the house mixer into my Zoom H4N, so I have a complete audio track for the event. Now I just have to go back and create a new video recording, stripping out the old bad audio track and syncing the backup recording. Not ideal but will at least give us videos of the sessions that we can upload.

The bad news is, of course, that the experience of the initial viewers was quite poor and I'm sure some of them did not stay around to watch more of the session under the assumption it would remain that way.

Why did it take so long for us to fix it?

Well, I was the one operating the livestream and I was speaking at the beginning and then moderating a panel discussion, so it was purely the case that I wasn't in a position to be able to diagnose and sort out the fix. During the break I finally had a chance to do so.

It was also a valuable lesson in monitoring. To look at the audio levels I was watching the graphical meters in Wirecast but I wasn't watching the level in the Google+ HOA screen! That was ultimately how I realized what was wrong. It also pointed out that we need to be running a second machine that is watching the actual livestream so that we can hear the issues ourselves.

All in all a valuable set of lessons that I'll be adding to my checklist for the next time we do a livestream using Google+ Hangouts On Air.

P.S. The key point of the whole exercise was to prove we could livestream an event out over IPv6, which did in fact prove to be successfu1!


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



SoundCloud Rolls Out Auto-Sharing To Google+

Soundcloud iosYesterday SoundCloud released a new version 2.6 of their iOS app that for the first time allows sharing to Google+. This is rather intriguing because right now very few applications are able to share directly into Google+. Google has very tightly controlled access to their Google+ APIs to the dismay of many of us who want to more easily share the content we create into our Google+ accounts.

The new SoundCloud app for iOS provides the following new features related to Google+:

  1. The ability to login to SoundCloud with your Google+ credentials. This is only really useful to people who are new to SoundCloud as it simplifies the account creation process by letting you login with your Google+ ID.

  2. The ability to share sounds out to Google+ from within the iOS app.

  3. Automatic sharing of new sounds you create to your Google+ account.

The last one is the most interesting to me and the focus of what I'll write about here. I'll note, too, that according to multiple reports, including an article in TheNextWeb, the ability to login to SoundCloud via Google+ is also available in the Android SoundCloud app, although apparently the sharing is not there. The automatic sharing is centrally configured in SoundCloud's web interface and so may not have a dependence on the mobile app.

Automatic Sharing From SoundCloud To Google+

This is again the most important feature of the update to me. SoundCloud has for quite some time had the ability to automatically share any new sound you upload out to Twitter, Facebook (including Facebook Pages) and Tumblr. This new release adds Google+ to the mix.

You need to login to your SoundCloud account and go to Settings -> Connections. Once there you will see a new Google+ button: Sc connections

Selecting the button allows you to go through the standard Google+ process to authorize this application to connect to your Google+ account. Once you do that, you will see a new connection at the bottom of your list of connections: Sc googleplus

Somewhat bizarrely it doesn't use a Google+ icon but rather something that reminds me more of MySpace.

Similarly, over in the iOS app, after you save a recording and are getting ready to post the sound to SoundCloud, the "Sharing Options" now have a Google+ option at the top - but without any icon: Ios app sc 1 In theory, this should all allow the auto-publishing of links to new sounds out to your Google+.

Sounds Great... But Didn't Work :-(

So, after configuring all of this, I recorded a new episode 5 of my The Dan York Report on this topic... and it did NOT auto-post to Google+. When I was in Google+ there was a yellow message that appeared several times at the top of my screen that said something like:

"Oops... there was a problem posting "TYDR #005 ..." Retrying.

Unfortunately it appeared and disappeared too quickly to get a screenshot.

Manually Sharing From SoundCloud Web or iOS App

The good news is that the SoundCloud web also provides a mechanism to manually share a sound out to Google+. If you click on the Share icon on the page for a sound, you can select the Google+ tab: Soundcloud sharing and then write a message about the sound and choose who to share it with: Share on googleplus

Similarly, you can now do this sharing from within the iOS app itself: Ios app sharing

I'm showing these windows for sharing the sound I created, but this could be for ANY sound that you listen to within the SoundCloud app or web interface.

So What About That Auto-Sharing?

Why didn't my first episode after configuring Google+ integration auto-publish out to Google+? I don't know. I'm going to assume this was perhaps a "teething pain" as the folks at SoundCloud get this integration working.

Regardless, it's good to see this integration with Google+ happening (assuming it starts working) and more apps being able to connect into Google+.


An audio commentary about part of this announcement can be found at:


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:



Goodbye Black Bar, Hello Grey Bar - Google+ Gets a Visual Update

Logging into Google+ today I was immediately drawn to the new visual look:

Google+Grey

Quite a departure from the "black bar" that we've come to expect from Google+. Here's what it looked like yesterday - and interestingly still looks like on another computer of mine (I'm guessing there is a browser refresh issue there):

Old Google+ look

You'll note that in the old style of header, you had quick access to other Google services. This has now been moved to a drop-down menu when you hover over the "Google+" logo in the upper right:

Google+dropdown 1

This is all part of Google's overall effort to bring a stronger visual identity and simpler user interface across its various products and services.

So far in brief period of using it, I like the new redesign. How about you? What do you think?

P.S. If we aren't already connected on Google+, how about adding me to a circle on Google+?


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either: