Google launched its Google+ social network back in June 2011 and since then, they have made some big changes to the service over the past two years. At Google I/O, the company announced it would be making up to 41 changes to Google+, with many of them starting today.
One of the first changes Google+ will be receiving later today is a new layout which allows its users to use a single or multi-column stream that will now have animated images, dynamically-sized cards, recommended posts and related hashtags. Google’s hashtags changes how we all have used hashtags in the past by automatically attaching a related hashtag based on information it finds within the status update, or through image analysis.
Hangouts is also receiving a huge improvement as Google is making it possible for its users to converse with one another through multiple platforms, and is even making a Google Hangouts application available on both Android and iOS later today. Google wants its users to have “conversations that last, with people you love” and has done this by listing conversations they have in Hangouts, rather than listing contacts.
Conversations in Hangouts can be one-on-one or with groups, with people able to join and drop out at any time. Being able to have a conversation with someone is one tap away from Hangouts’ main menu, which Google rates who is the most important to you based on who you regularly contact. In Hangouts, you’ll not only have text conversations, but you’ll also be able to share photos and have video chat all within the same conversation.
The last area of Google+ to receive a major improvement is its Photos as users will now be able to save a lot of time when uploading their images to Google’s social network service. Google focused on four major points for improving photos on Google+: Backup, Highlight, Enhance and Awesome. Backup is simple and straightforward as Google+ allows you to upload images so you can have a central location where they can all be stored.
Highlight takes all of your images and hand picks the best photos in order to give your album the absolute best pictures possible. The way Google chooses which photos should be highlighted is based on a number of factors including if a photo is blurry, a duplicate, resulted in bad exposure, features landmarks, people, aesthetics and affinity. If you’d rather look at all of the photos in an album, you can do so easily.
Enhance takes your photos and automatically enhances them to help make them look as good as possible through a number of ways that include color correction, changes to an image’s exposure and some other factors. The last point, Awesome, helps make your images into animated GIFs without the Google+ user having to do anything. Photos that are taken in burst mode can then become animated GIFs and will be delivered to Google+ users shortly after the images are uploaded.