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Saurabh Sethia
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Set operations on G+ circles!

Even though the circles icon is a Venn diagram, we can't do basic set operations on circles. At least very easily. I figured out a way to do basic set operations, if you're a little patient.

First, familiarize yourself with "select all." You can view a circle in a tab, and then under more options, you can choose select all. Once you have a set selected, you can make a circle by dragging one of the selected items to a new circle or an existing circle. All the rest will come with it. More importantly, the selected items will stay selected in their own tab and will be highlighted in whatever other circle you choose to look at. This will be very useful to us later.

Ok, the first operation that we have is negation. I have a "Zzzzz" circle, but say I want a "not Zzzzz" circle. Then what I have to do is to select all the people I'm following, then drag them to a new circle called "not Zzzzz." After that I open "Zzzzz" in its own tab, select all, then open the "not Zzzzz" circle in its own tab. Since the "Zzzzz" items are still selected, I just click "remove," which will take them out of the "not Zzzzz" circle. Voila! I've negated the "Zzzzz" circle.

Union is even easier. It's just a matter of selecting all in A, dragging them to a new circle, then selecting all in B and dragging them to the same new circle.

There's no good easy way to do set intersection, subtraction, or symmetric difference (that's XOR for you computer people), but since we have union and negation, we can just use DeMorgan's laws to get them.

For example, say I have "Local" and "Technical" and I want to find their intersection. I negate both of them and hold them aside. Then I take their union (getting a circle that contains people who are missing from one or the other or both). I take that union and negate it to get people who must be in both.

It's a little cumbersome but it works. Basic set theory.
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In last two days suddenly many people I do not know have included me in their circles. I wonder what triggered this. Perhaps Google included me in some search results or in the list of suggested people.
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There seems to be no way to post something publicly, and yet save some people in your circle from spending time looking at it. For example, I sometimes want to post something that only people from India or people who know Hindi or people who know computational geometry can understand. I want to post such things publicly because I want the google search engine to get it and anyone should be able to read it. However I want to save some of the people in my circle who I know will not be interested in it, from looking at it. There seems to be no easy way to do it.

A specific case of the above problem is that suppose I want to sometimes post in Hindi and sometimes post in English, and some posts may involve both languages. Some people in my language know only English and some know both languages. So how do I organize my posts so that the people who do not know hindi do not see my hindi or hindi related posts. I created a circle called Hindi for this purpose but than all my "hindi" posts cannot be public. :(
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Let's say I want to see messages posted by Larry Page. One way to do this is to click on his name and get to his posts that he has shared with the world. However there may be many such people I do not want to keep checking. So I can create a circle called "good people" or "famous people" or "celebrities" and put him there. Now I have all the posts that I want to see on my stream. Great. But there is a problem. Now if I post messages to my circle, they are open to Larry Page. Sure he is not going to look, but I do not want personal messages to be open to strangers. So now whenever I post things that are a little personal, I need to make sure that I share it with every circle except the "celebrities" circle. This will be a pain. Is there a better way?
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