Google+: The Ultimate Journal?

I’ve been a heavy user of Google+ since it launched in a beta in the middle of 2011. I predominately use it to share some of my photography with the ever growing community, but I’ve recently started turning this social network into something altogether more personal. With very minimal effort, Google+ can become a very proficient Read Later service, and an excellent journal!

The Read Later and journal idea takes full advantage of Google+’s Circles. This unique feature of Google+ can be turned to your advantage with very minimal effort. The Read Later idea is nothing new, so we’ll start with discussing this:

Read It Later

For those of you unaware, a Read Later service, such as Pocket, allows you to do just that, save an article to read later. Many people use the aforementioned Pocket, or Instapaper, but Google+ can handle this for you very easily. All you need to do is create a new circle, but don’t include anyone in this circle. When you find a post or article on Google+ you want to read, but don’t have the time to look at it at the time of discovery, you simply hit the ‘share’ button and share it just to your new ‘Read Later’ circle. When the time comes for you to read this post, you simply open your ‘Read Later’ circle, and away you go!

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Private Journal

You’ve probably already seen the idea above, of a Read Later service, but something I’ve recently starting working on is a journal using only Google+. The idea is, of course, very similar to the approach taken above, but your options for a journal are far greater.

To start with you need to create a new circle, as before, called ‘Journal’ perhaps, and again include no one in this new circle. Once it has been created, you can start a new post, about anything you want to log, and share to your new circle. A circle only you will be able to view.

So, how does this differ from just writing a note into Notes.app on your iPhone, or any other note app? Well, you can now take advantage of many of Google’s fantastic cloud services to enhance your journal / diary, especially if you use the Google+ app on your Android or iOS device. The app will allow you to include your location, complete with a great snapshot taken from Google Maps. Using the app, or the Google+ homepage, you can also share as many images as you want, in full resolution, to remember that special moment. These images can then be re-downloaded, at any point in the future, if needed.

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Another great benefit of using this option is the ability Google provides to extract all of your data, at any point, into convenient .zip files. You will never lose or forget a special moment again!

(I originally posted this on Google+ and my blog a few weeks ago. I hope you don't mind me re-posting here).