Google+ battles irrelevance with a bumper crop of new features
This week, fans of that special can-do Google magic got a treat when Google Maps rolled out their dedicated iOS app. The Google Maps for iOS app purports to "fix" everything wrong with Apple Maps, and this new app has made a big splash with happy iPhone users.
Today, Google has gone and updated the Google+ social network with a whopping 24 new features, many of which are aimed at Android and iOS mobile users. The splash has not been quite as big.
Google rolled out 24 new features to Google+ today, many of them specific to the iOS and Android mobile platforms. "Whether you’re an iPhone or Android addict, a budding broadcaster, or the resident party planner, there’s a feature for each of you in our last big launch of the year," Google VP of Engineering Dave Besbris wrote in a company blog post. "24 treats to make sharing and communicating easier and more fun than ever."
Again, most of these "treats" are aimed at mobile users. But if you're a desktop or laptop kind of G+ user, you'll be pleased to see that Google Plus' most ballyhooed feature, the G+ Hangout video chat service, has a new "low-bandwidth mode" that uses only 150 KB of bandwidth. Hangouts now offers an additional ability to hide the "filmstrip" along the bottom showing other chat participants, allowing you to easily conceal it when no one else is in that chat session.
The Event invite feature on Google+ has also been souped-up, allowing Event creators to send individual messages to specific invitees. Event creators can also see whose opened the invite, and RSVPing has additional new capabilities.
Mobile users have new updated versions for Android and iOS, both of which offer simplified methods of posting items and changing your profile on tablets or smartphones. The Android update offers animated GIF capabilities and 360-degree panorama shots. The iOS update allows for longer posts, larger photos, and pinch-and-drag capabilities on photo streams.
Android users will also now get 5 GB off storage for their full-size photos, and the ability to post right to Google+ directly from their smartphone's camera.
If you're skeptical that all this slew of new features actually adds up to 24, Google engineer Matt Waddell has detailed each individual new Google+ feature to prove that there are, in fact, 24 of them. His list can be found -- where else? -- on Google+.