This morning in a San Francisco warehouse Google had rented out for the occasion, the search and social giant unveiled new and upgraded features for Google+, their social networking platform. A blog post released to coincide with the event reveals details of the upgrade, which brought 18 more Google+ features.
Google+ Video Enhancements: Auto Awesome Movies
This announcement means a slew of photo and video upgrades, most available this week.
Google+ appears to be taking a run at the iMovies with improvements to Auto Awesome, which they promise “can help bring your story to life in many ways.” Auto Awesome Movies gives users the ability to have movies complete with effects, transitions and a soundtrack created automatically, using the photos from an album.
Other Auto Awesome Movies features include different styles and filters users can apply over the video with a swipe and finer controls for video length, soundtrack, etc.
Google+ Photo Enhancements
Some of the changes apply to Google+ photo editing and storage on the network, while others are within the Auto Awesome tool. On photos, Google+ upgrades include:
- Full size backups and background sync for Google+ for iOS, to automatically upload photos as they’re taken.
- Over 1000 new search terms to improve Google+ photo search, expanding upon the deep learning photo surfacing search unveiled at Google I/O.
- The ability to dial auto enhancements up or down, or to exempt an album entirely.
- HDR Scrape, a new setting as part of SnapSeed to allow users to control filters strength.
- A new filter called Analog Efex Pro for the Nik collection (premium service, $149) of pro photo editing tools.
Auto Awesome upgrades for photos include:
Action- Create a strobe effect, animated GIF by recognizing a moving subject (like an athlete) and superimposing them over one background.
Eraser- Take a series of images and Google+ will erase moving objects to give a cleaner image.
Google+ Hangout Upgrades & Features
One major improvement to Hangouts is the ability for broadcasters to schedule Hangouts on Air and promote them with a dedicated watch page. This is welcome news for marketers and other Hangout hosts everywhere. A Control Room now allows hosts to moderate the conversation on air with mute and eject buttons.
Hangouts for Android now supports location sharing and SMS, allowing users to send a map of their current location and send/receive texts without switching between apps. Animated GIFs will now play inline within Hangouts.
Video calling controls enhancements mean they’ll appear full-screen across desktop and mobile, with automatic lighting and webcam adjustments. On Air improvements will roll out over the next few weeks, according to Google.
Google+ is Growing
In the presentation opening, Vic Gundotra, SVP at Google, shared recent Google+ statistics, including:
- 1.5 billion photos are uploaded to Google+ each week.
- Google+ has more than 300 million members.
- 540 million people are active on the Google+ network each month; 300 million actively visit the Google+ social stream.
In closing, Gundotra wrote, "...the Google+ community is growing faster than we ever could have imagined. Today's updates are our way of saying 'thank you' -we hope they save you time, and help you share your story."
Watch the full A Morning with Google+ livestream recording below: