On Thursday, Google rolled another social networking tool for Google+ users, called Communities, which looks and feels similar to regular Google+ streams, but are topic-based, rather than user-based, forums. The role of Communities is for users to share rich conversations about shared topics of interests—be it a private book club, a hobby, a local neighborhood project, an international forum about a particular issue, or anything in between.
Google+ Communities have rapidly grown within a few days of the tool’s launch. Public Communities include topics ranging from HDR Photography, Android Development, Smartphone Photographers, Google Plus Book Club, to App Marketing, and Linux Users.
Any Google+ member can start a Private or Public Community. To browse and explore existing communities, or to start a new one, locate and select the green and white Communities icon on the left side of your Google+ page (see screenshot above.) The steps for creating a community including deciding to make it Public or Private, choosing a unique name for the community, writing a description, and inviting people to the forum space.
Those wishing a join a Private community must request a membership from the moderator. Private communities can be hidden from web search results; however, the name and photo of a private community that’s hidden from search will still be visible to people who type in or directly visit the community’s web address.
Google+ Communities can of course include media posts (photos, videos, calendar events) and links just like regular Google+ pages.