By the time you read this, of course, I fully expect this to change — there may be a good chance that many of these apps will even use that new platform. Because the Google+ developer API just barely launched to the public, until very recently developers worked around the previous lack of an application platform by building browser extensions that you can install in Google’s Chrome web browser (and in some cases other browsers). In this article I share ten of my favorite Google plus apps. Because until very recently Google+ had not previously released a programming interface for applications to be created, to create many extensions developers used a technique called scraping, which means to read the HTML of the Google+ site and modify the site based on that HTML. So, use caution as you try these extensions, because if Google+ ever changes its interface (and it will) and thus the HTML of the Google+ site, all of these extensions are prone to break until they implement Google’s new developer API. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Klout indexes the social networks that you use and determines what areas of interest you have “Klout” in. It then produces a score that you can compare against your friends. Klout provides “perks” (real life products they mail to you) to those that have clout in given areas. Shortly before this writing Klout also added Google+ integration so that you can now measure your influence on Google+ in addition to the other services Klout offers. You can sign up for Klout at: https://klout.com
Reader to Plus
If you’re a Google Reader user like me (Google Reader is a site that allows you to subscribe to updates on other blogs and websites; try it out at http://reader.google.com), you may want a simple way of sharing to Google+ from Google Reader. At this writing, there is no native way to share from Google Reader to Google+. This extension makes that possible by adding a little Share to Google+ link at the bottom of each post in Google Reader.
Extended Share for Google+
If you want to share your posts on Google+ to Facebook or Twitter or another social network, this is a great extension to install. It adds a Share On link at the bottom of each Google+ post (next to the Share link), allowing users to share to their favorite social networks.
Google+ Hangout Check
This extension places an icon in your Chrome browser that turns blue if any of your friends on Google+ are having a hangout. Click on it and it shows each of your friends that are hanging out currently. If you’re looking for people to hang out with, check out Google+ Hangout Check at the following site:
Replies and More for Google+
Ever participate in a conversation with a lot of comments and find it hard to figure out who you’re responding to? Rather than pressing the plus (+) key and trying to spell the name right, you can just click Reply, which appears when you mouse over the comment. Then the name of the individual you’re replying to automatically populates the comment box.
If your main stream is getting too noisy or is filled with users like me who post a lot, you can use this extension to clean up your stream a little. This extension allows you to collapse all posts, with a little comment notification icon specifying the number of new comments on the post. You can also specify which circles you want to appear in your stream. You can configure it with what you want to appear in your stream.
Surplus puts a Google+ notification on top of your Chrome browser, so no matter what website you’re visiting you can see how many notifications you have. In addition, you can respond and post without ever leaving the sites you’re visiting.
This Chrome extension makes all the pictures shared on Google+ show up bigger when you mouse over them. You can use it as a shortcut to seeing full-sized images rather than having to click them.
SocialStatistics.com is a website (not a browser extension) that shows you how people rank in Google+. You can find out which users are being circled the most and where you rank on Google+ in that regard. Visit this website at: http://socialstatistics.com/
Be careful measuring your success based on rankings for SocialStatistics.com; the site only tracks those users who add their names to their list manually and are therefore only tracking a small sampling of Google+ users at the time of this writing.
G+ Stream Pause
Is your Google+ stream moving too fast for you? As I write this, if my stream updates while I am writing a comment my comment will gradually move down the page as I’m typing.
This can get quite annoying! The Google+ Stream Pause Chrome extension allows you to pause your stream. Any new updates that occur while it is paused will appear in a counter at the top of your stream and will not update until you unpause the stream.
Go for More!
Looking for more apps or extensions to try out for Google+?
There’s a great website at http://googleplusapps.tumblr.com that you can subscribe to in your favorite RSS reader (such as http://reader.google.com). The site shares newly found apps and provides a review of each. It’s a great resource for people passionate about Google+, like me!
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