26 May 2014

How Google Plus Notifications Work: Who You Can Reach on Google+

Google Plus notificationsNotifications can be the great ways to interact with your social media followers and even reach non-followers. I am thinking to start the series on how to make the most of social media notifications at the major social media platforms, and I’ll start with the least straightforward one: Google Plus.

Google Plus, as always, defines the feature quite vaguely:

Google+ notifications can be photos, messages, videos, events, or other things that are shared with you. You might be notified if someone +1’s your photo, invites you to an event, or if a celebrity you’re following shares something new.

Let’s try and dig more details of how Google Plus notifications really work:


1. Who You Can Receive Notifications From (by Default)

Default settings:

  • Who can send you notifications? Extended circles
  • Notification delivery: Your default G+ email

That being said notifications work both sides by default:

  1. They send you a web-based notification
  2. They send you an email

Google plus Notifications

You can change the default settings (here’s some info). I won’t describe how and why to do that (@MartinSherv did a pretty good job explaining that here).

The focus of this article is not really to show how you control what you hear from who on Google Plus. The focus is what your followers see by default and which of your actions reach them effectively, so we are only reviewing DEFAULT settings here (few people ever change those)

So let’s review Extended circles in a bit more details here…

Google Plus official guide is trying to explain that clearly:

Your extended circles include people in your circles’ circles***.

Basically, to put it simply, if you visit someone’s profile and see “In common with you”, that person is already in your extended circles (as you have common connections):

In common with you

Does it mean that only your friends and friends of you friends can really send you notifications through Google Plus?

Not quite…

If we look deeper into how Google Plus notifications work, we’ll see that there’s more to that. Below there’s a list of exactly what types of updates you are notified on [I am using the notes in brackets to explain who can send you those updates.]


2. How Notifications Work

Notifications will update you of the following:

1. Who added you to circles

[Does the person need to be in your "extended circle" to make it to the notifications? - No, anyone who added you will be there randomly]
Who added you to circles
Who added you to circles

2. Who name-tagged (mentioned) you

[Does the person need to be in your "extended circle" to be able to name-tag you? - No, anyone on Google Plus can name tag you unless this is not a Business Page you are not following]
Who name-tagged (mentioned) you
Note: Here’s a neat tip on how to name-tag easier

Also mind that *as a page* you cannot name-tag a person unless he/she is circling your page (hence less freedom here)

3. Community and event invitations

[Who can send you community invitation? - Only people in your extended circles]
Community and event invitations

4. Community updates (only those that have NOTIFICATIONS ON)

Community updates

5. Who +1 (plussed), re-shared and/or commented on the update you shared in your stream + Who else commented on the update where you commented earlier

[Does the person need to be in your "extended circle" to make it to the notifications? - No, anyone who interacted with your share will make it to notifications]
Who +1 (plussed), re-shared and/or commented on the update you shared in your stream

6. When someone shared an update with you*

[Who can share things with you? - Only people in your circles]
When someone shared an update with you


Conclusion: How you can get into “Notifications” at Google Plus:

  • Add people to circles;
  • Name-tag people (you can tag anyone, not just people in your extended circles unless you are a business page)
  • Invite people to community (you can invite anyone from your extended circles)
  • Start threads in G+ communities
  • Plus, re-share and comment on other people’s G+ shares
  • Share updates with some of your circles: Don’t do that too often! (You can share updates with anyone from your circles)

Let’s keep in touch!