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Obviously I can post something to the "Public" circle and that will be visible in the stream of those who have me in any of their circles, and visible to strangers viewing my profile.

Also, I can post something to my "Extended Circles" and that will be visible in the stream of those who have me in any of their circles, and in the "Incoming" stream of their friends, but not visible to strangers viewing my profile unless they are in "Extended circles".

Under what conditions would it make sense to post to "Public" and "Extended Circles"? What does this achieve?

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In composing and editing the question, I might have come up with the answer myself:

  • "Public" doesn't broadcast my post as widely as "Extended Circles" does. Yes, it's available but only to those who actively come looking.
  • "Extended Circles" broadcasts my post not only to my circles but also to theirs. This gives me more visibility. But strangers can't see the post even if they come looking, unless they happen to be only semi-strangers because they are in the "extended circles".

So "Public" provides availability while "Extended circles" provides distribution. These are separate traits.

Frankly though, why would I write something that semi-strangers may read, but total strangers may not? That is what the "Extended circles" does, and it doesn't make much sense to me. So in essence, I would always use both in combination.

  • 3
    Interesting, I would have thought that the roles would be reversed – Sathyajith Bhat Jul 20 '11 at 17:14
  • You forgot to mention that sharing to Extended Circles only appears in the Streams of people in the circles of people in your circles if they have you in their circles. – Steven Roose Aug 31 '12 at 21:20
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    This is wrong. according to this Google+ Help Post the extended circles act like the friends of friends feature on Facebook – Rebecca Dessonville Oct 22 '12 at 1:08
  • I've now unchecked this as the "correct" answer, but the link you provided isn't really clear on the "when" part of my question. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Oct 22 '12 at 6:38
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I'm not sure that your logic is correct. Have you tested this? I thought Extended Circles posts would show for anyone who was following you and who was followed within your social circles (friend of a friend). Remember that follows aren't symmetric.

Said another way, Extended Circle posts are only visible to people who your friends follow who, in turn, are following you. See this Google+ Help Article

If a person doesn't follow you, I don't believe you can inject content into their feeds.

Another difference between Public and Extended Circles is that Public posts are searchable.

Personally, I've not really found a good reason for using Extended Circles posts... maybe for a party invitation? Something you want to tell your friends and their friends about?

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