Google+ updates bring new stream, Hangouts, and photo features

Google Plus stream hangouts photos

Google has announced a ton of new features for its social networking service, Google+. Emphasis has been put on the main stream, Google+ Hangouts, and Google’s photo features. There’s a lot to dive into:

New Stream

Google has a newly-designed stream that is liquid and will change based on your needs and tastes. No longer are users limited to one flat column if posts. You will now be treated to two-column and three-column layouts. Someone on a netbook might only want a one-column layout, for instance, while someone working on a 24-inch monitor might appreciate the three-column layout more.

Google Plus

These columns will feature Google+ posts as “cards” which can be flipped over to display more information about that particular post. Google also introduced a new automatic hashtag feature. Google+ will be able to figure out if your post is talking about a hot or popular topic and apply a hashtag to it. You can turn the feature off if you want, or just remove specific hashtags if you don’t want them there or you believe Google got them wrong.

New Hangouts

Google has also introduced a new Hangouts experience that will allow you and your friends to connect even better. Aside from a new user interface, Google will give you a beautiful visual representation of who’s typing at what time, and who has read which messages in the chat.

Google Hangouts new hangout

Users will be able to access their conversations across all their devices, including Android, desktop, and iOS, and pick up where they left off. It’s messaging, except much better now. And, as the previous Hangouts feature was known for, folks can now do multi-person voice chat between all their friends for free.

New Photo editing and enhancement features

Perhaps the biggest and most impressive features Google added were in regards to photo. For starters, users will now get an extra 10GB of high resolution photo uploads on top of the 5GB already available. But there are also some cool new things to do do those photos:

Google Plus Photos noise reduction

  • Photo Highlights: Google+ can go through your photos and decide which ones are best to show off to your friends and family. It does this by determining which photos are blurry, duplicates, which have pictures of family and friends, famous and popular landmarks and places, and photos that are pleasing to Google’s digital “eye.”
  • Photo Editing: You can now have Google+ edit your photos automatically, and make them look how your eye intended for them to look. Google’s powerful image editing algorithms and tools will enhance exposure, sharpness, fix red-eye, reduce noise, fix white balancing, apply vignetting and more. You can have as much or as little of these enhancements as you want, or you can go without them altogether.
  • Awesome: Google also has the ability to just do “awesome” things with your photo. You can have photos put into a collage to make a story, apply HDR effects, have a series of images strung together as a GIF, detect who isn’t smiling in a photo and replace their faces with one where they’re smiling, and automatically stitch similar photos together to create panoramas.

The best part is that all of this stuff is rolling out to Google+ today, so we won’t have to sit and wait, fiending for it like a squirrel would his acorns. Go ahead and jump over to Google+ to give it all a try for yourself.

[via ChromeSpot]

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  • Bizzle9

    I don’t give a sh** about Google+. I don’t give a sh** about ChromeOS.

    I am disappointed by the lack of focus on Android in general. OK, modest improvements to apps are nice, but more often than not, they were demoing them on a Mac or an iPad.

    As an Android “fan”, this has been the least interesting Google I/O I’ve seen.

    • Sam Keaser

      You do realize that Google I/O is a conference for all Google platforms, yes?

      • Bizzle9

        Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit I see? Yes, I realize what Google I/O is. That is why I explained my disappointment as being due to the lack of Android content. You do realize this is an Android fan site right? I’ll grant you that if I had made this comment at “I-heart-everything-google.com”, your comment wouldn’t be so inane.

        • ScottColbert

          Calm down, the whaambulance is on its way.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

      Google I/O isn’t for fans. It’s for developers. Larry Page himself said that the most frustrating thing that is holding innovation back is negativity.

      Here is a prime example of it.

      • Bizzle9

        Please. The context of Larry’s remark was in regard to press exposure and corporate competition. He was in no way suggesting that there isn’t a place for disappointment or criticism. The notion that “negativity holds back innovation”, even if stated by the brilliant Larry Page, is a non-sequitur. It’s dangerously close to a platitude, frankly. Google I/O’s very existence is, in many ways, a response to the negative reactions of developers and their criticism. Complaints are one of the ways things get fixed.

        What you are suggesting, with your “aww shucks, can’t we all just love everything Google does” nonsense, has a name: fanboyism. If you disagree with my assessment of this I/O, fine. Please elaborate with your reasons; not a touchy-feely appeal to authority and ‘stayin’ positive’.

        Be careful not to fall off your high horse.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

          You’re right about the context of Larry’s remark, I might have got a little too sucked into it. He spoke very broadly about the state of the industry and his feelings towards it.

          Regardless, Google doesn’t owe anyone anything and it makes me a little sad that people are getting pissed because ‘a new version of Android wasn’t released’ after all the work all of these teams put in over the course of this year to make this all happen. In fact, the simple matter that they focused mainly on Google play services and not a new version of Android is beneficial to the entire ecosystem because a larger amount of people will be able to enjoy the improvements.

          I don’t love everything Google does, and I don’t consider myself partial to Google at all. Sure, I consider myself a ‘fanboy’, but not of Google. I’m typing this on my macbook air, running Ubuntu 13.10. I do have a lot of respect for what Google does though, because a lot of it pushes the industry forward, especially by empowering developers.

          • Bizzle9

            I must say, I’m amazed to encounter anyone who’d concede a point and de-escalate a disagreement on the internet, let alone this site. Respect.

            I would like to clarify something though. I’m not pissed. I am disappointed. I wanted to see some much needed updates and fixes to Android. Based on the last 3-4 Google I/O’s, that was not at all an unreasonable expectation. Also, I think phandroid.com as opposed to, say, a Google developers forum, is a very reasonable place to express said disappointment.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

            Right back at you, I wasn’t exactly expecting your response either, especially on this site.

            I understand your frustration. To be honest, Android 4.3 got really overhyped over the last few weeks on the internet and I never really understood why.

            The only ‘confirmed’ features so far have been the new opengl and low power bluetooth. That, and the new messenger and Play Games.

            It got to the point that people were pissed because we didn’t get a new version, even though they managed to update pretty much all of the core apps with awesome new features. That, for me was just as good as a new version. The only difference is that a decimal point didn’t go up.

            Don’t get me wrong, Android still needs a lot of work going forward and I’m really excited to see what they have in store, but I’m not disappointed What Google revealed today will do more for the platform as a whole than what a new version would have.

  • Jeremy Dela Cruz

    So this new Hangouts is not “Babel” right?

    • RussianDroid

      Yep, it is. No SMS/MMS support :(

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/107214144202094295079/posts James

        Maybe in the future they’ll choose to integrate it. It shouldn’t be too hard, Facebook did it fairly easily in their application.

  • blest

    I almost payed to attend this one

  • http://twitter.com/ScoreboardSteve Steveo

    So no type of iMessage service for Androids? #1 thing I was looking for too :(

  • Guest

  • Johnathon Oquin

    I am having a problem with my google+ Stream layout only be in the single row and i want it in the multi row layout . I have click on the multi row layout and it will be the same single row . anyone have this problem ?