Google+ incorporates a feature many of us are familiar with on other social networks: the ability to tag someone in comments (or in an update). On Twitter, this feature is simple as you simply need to include the “@” symbol before another Twitter username to make an active link in your tweet back to that user’s Twitter profile. For example: @LockerGnome would become automatically hyperlinked to http://twitter.com/LockerGnome when viewed on Twitter.com or in most Twitter clients.
On Facebook, if you are a friend of another person, you can simply start typing their name into a status update or comment with a capital letter to trigger a list of friends from which you can select to tag. You can also start typing “@” (sans quotes) followed by a friend’s name to pull up this list on Facebook.
On Google+, tagging a user in an update or comment is almost as easy. You begin by using either the familiar “@” symbol or using the more appropriate “+” symbol. Then, you start typing in a user’s name. The responsiveness of the process is akin to Facebook; as you start keying in a user’s name, a drop down list will appear, suggesting people you’ve already circled first and then moving on to people you haven’t circled if no matching names from within your circles are found.
It’s been seen by some users that if you type too quickly, the Google+ user tagging system won’t have enough time to catch up and you have to start over again. This issue may be resolved with future Google+ updates.
If you use Google Chrome as your Web browser, there’s a fantastic extension named “Replies and more for Google+” which will help you more easily reply to users within a comment thread on Google+. Without this browser add-on, replying to a user is currently painstaking and time consuming.
In the event there are matching users with the same name, you can look for the user with the matching avatar. Be forewarned, however — there may be more than one user who goes by the same name. Just like you might mistag a user on Twitter, you can easily reference a different person who goes by the same name on Google+. The chances of mistaken identity are slim today — but as more people join Google+, the possibility for you to mistag them grows.
Do you have any other suggestions for how to better engage users on Google+? Let us know!