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PSU Google+

Google+ is a social networking tool is available to the PSU community. It enables you to share information, collaborate, and network with other people.

Google+ Accounts

Even if you already have a Google+ profile for your personal Gmail account, it is recommended that you create one for your PSU Gmail account, in order to separate your personal social networking from your university/workplace social networking.

Please be aware that your PSU Google account has a lifecycle. (Go to Odin Account Standard for more information.) If your account expires, it will take work to reconstruct your social network, even using a tool like Google Takeout to export your data. Therefore, OIT recommends that you consider where to invest your social networking energy in different situations. If you intend to continue networking with someone beyond your time at PSU, it may be best to connect with them using your personal Gmail account.

Google+ Features

The Google+ app is made up of several features. Two of the most commonly used features, Hangouts and Circles, are introduced below. To see all of the Google+ features and learn more about how to use them, go to Google+ Features.


Google Hangouts are video conferences that can support up to 10 people. Hangouts are typically done via webcams, but you can opt to present your Google+ profile picture as a static image instead. OIT recommends that you use a photo of yourself, so that others can be sure they are speaking to you. To learn more about using a profile picture, go to Set your Google profile picture.

If you'd like to initiate a hangout with someone who does not have a Google+ account or is not at a computer, you can also add someone by their phone number. This will call their phone so that they can join the Hangout.


Circles are a way to group and organize your contacts. You can create as many circles as you need and each contact can be in as many circles as you like. Circles can be used to share content on Google+ with select groups (e.g. inviting only friends and not coworkers to a party event you've created.)

When you have added someone to a circle, they will be able to see that you have added them, but they will not be able to see the name of the circle unless you have shared the circle. Sharing the circle is the recommended way of making sure that everyone has a particular list of social contacts. To learn more, go to Share a circle.

Be aware that when you add people to your Google+ circles, it may suggest contacts both internal and external to PSU. OIT recommends that you clearly delineate between your personal and professional social media contacts by adding people to circles from within, using their email address, rather than looking them up by their name or adding them from their Google+ profile.

Setting Up Google+

To get started using Google+, follow the instructions below to set up your account:

  1. Go to In the top left corner, select the "+[Your Name]" button.
  2. Enter your real name, select your gender, and provide your accurate birth date.
    (Note: Updating your name later is difficult, so be sure to enter it correctly. Providing a birthday that indicates you are less than 13 years old will lock your account. You may hide your birth date in your Google+ profile after it is created.)
  3. Select the Upgrade button at the bottom when you have completed the page.
  4. Do not add anyone on the "Add people you know" screen at this point.
    (Note: OIT recommends that you add people after Google+ is set up by entering their PSU email addresses, which ensures you can differentiate between Google+ profiles and PSU Google+ profiles.)
  5. Select Continue.
  6. Select Continue again.
    (Note: Do not follow any people or pages at this point. If a screen pops to ask if you're sure, select Continue again. You may follow pages later, such as academic resources in your focus area.)
  7. Enter whatever information you would like to share on the next page and select the Finish button when you're done.
  8. Select the "What's hot and recommended" section. In the top right corner, there is a sliding switch. You may slide it to the left to reduce the number of notifications you receive on your Google+ page.

Further Resources

If you are an instructor looking to use PSU Google+ tools in your classroom, the Office of Academic Innovation and the Integrated Digital Support Center (IDSC) offers support.

Contact the Helpdesk for additional assistance.