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Use Google+ as your handheld travel journal

leaving manaus amazonas brazil from semester at sea study abroad voyage
Flying out of Manaus, Amazonas Brazil

Over the years our faculty, staff, students, and lifelong learners have tested a lot of travel journals. These days, you’ll see people on the ship trying to hold on to every moment of the voyage with pen and paper. Other folks share it all with the world through a blog. Some take a minimalistic approach and others record every last detail. Google’s new introduction to the world of social media offers a new option.

Quality of phone cameras is on the rise
The iPhone 4 contains a 5 megapixel camera that in some labs has outperformed 8 megapixel point-and-shoots. This trend will only continue to rise as Droid and EVO models continue to push out improvements in the same area. So in many cases, the right phone can eliminate the need to keep an extra gadget in your pocket. And on long days in foreign countries, the less you have to carry, the better.

Google+ is mobile
The slimmed down, mobile version of Google+ still leaves a bit to be desired, but the entire network is only a month old so I’m not complaining. One thing it does do well is help you manage your photos once you have albums set up. My advice would be to set up a travel album when you’re logged into your account on a computer and not a mobile device. You can send the mobile app to your phone for download here.

Take pictures, add them later – just like you already do
Click your pictures from all the places you go during your time in port, then when you find a wifi cafe or return to the ship, simply pull up the G+ mobile app and tap “Photos”. In the lower right corner, you’ll see a square labeled “From your phone”. Tap that and it will give you access to select images you want to share.

As you make your selections, the app will give you the ability to tag them with your location and write a note about each one so all of your friends following your voyage will know exactly where you’ve been and what you’ve been seeing.

Yes, it’s a lot like other services already out there
And Google hasn’t given tagging capabilities to posts through Google+ yet either. But you have to figure that with a company mission that goes something like: “collect the world’s information and make it useful” that won’t be too long in coming.

So give it a try. If nothing else, it’s a great new tool that so many people are just now starting to play and experiment with. How have you been using Google+ so far? And if you’ve got an account, feel free to connect with me here.

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