Earlier today Google released their newest Google Plus feature – Collections. When many journalists have been declaring the social media site’s death for months (usage stats prove the claim wrong), this is an audacious move. Many will claim is both the shot needed and a nail in the coffin.
So what is Google Plus Collections?
It’s Pinterest, but it’s not Pinterest. Being like Pinterest is the easiest way to describe this new feature but Collections is a little more than Pinterest. At its core, it’s just a way of categorizing your Google Plus posts by topic or theme. The same as Pinterest boards. Users then have a choice of circling you or just a board. This separation is actually my favorite part of Pinterest and frustration with Tumblr.
How is it not like Pinterest? It’s more than just images. We know images work beautifully on social media and that’s one thing that Google Plus has always done well. But Collections is sound files and text announcements and link posts. Everything that you’d usually post to Google Plus (and Facebook and Twitter).
How to Use Google Plus Collections
This is gradually being rolled out to desktop and Android Google Plus users, but not yet to iOS. I haven’t seen it on mobile yet, so this is all desktop. Apologies if I’m getting you excited for a feature you may not have yet. I’m an iPhone girl, so I feel your frustration. I’ve heard great things about Collections on Android.
To get to Google Plus Collections, use the menu drop-down on the left side of your home page. I haven’t seen a page without any Collections. Mine defaults to my existing Collections with a button to create more. The second tab shows the featured Collections, as chosen by the Google Plus team.
To create a Collection, simple click Create a Collection. Sorry, the cheesiness was too irresistible. Choose a name for your Collection. Short names display better. Descriptive names draw in people. Choose who can see the Collection. The options are the same as for posts: public, your circles, only you (private) and custom. Custom is where you can choose individuals or select circles. Communities aren’t a current option. The privacy options can’t be changed, so think before saving.
Next, Customize to choose your cover image and color. This part can be changed, but it’s easiest to get it right the first time. There are some images offered, but we all know custom images are better. Don’t forget to make sure you have permission to use them. This is subject-to-change, but the optimal size is 1920×1080. The top and bottom 21% (so nearly half the image) is hidden when the image is collapsed. It’s hard to describe so check out this Collection and click the link on the bottom of the image to see what I mean. Choose a color from the palette that will compliment your image. Yes, the palette is limited.
Finally, it’s time to populate your Collection. You can share your own posts or other people’s directly into the Collection. Just go to the post and choose the Collection from the share options. If you originally posted the item, then you can move the post into the Collection. This saves you from re-posting and spamming your profile with repeated posts.
That’s the basics for creating Collections. It’s time for your to go check them out and play. Remember to click Follow on any to, well, follow it.
If you’re stalking someone’s Collections, just go to their profile and it’s an option in their header menu.
Will Google Plus Collections Save Google Plus?
Putting the question of “Is Google Plus actually dying?” aside, I’m not sure. It was fun and interesting to build my first Collections, but it is just the content already on Google Plus. It may get more people posting, but we’ll have to wait and see if it pulls in the Pinterest moms and Tumblr teens.