Google makes four big updates to Google+

Google has made a series of what it calls “big improvements” to its social effort Google+. In an official blog post the internet giant said that some of the new features and functionality were made following widespread requests from everyday users and hopes that others “will be welcome surprises”.

There are four predominant changes, Google says, including the ability to “equalise” your main news stream, sneak preview notifications, improvements to Google+ pages, and “a bevy of improvements to the Google+ Photos experience”.

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Controlling the stream
According to Google, the news stream control feature is designed to put an end to situations in which posts from close friends and family “get lost amongst posts from others who post dozens of times a day”. The California-based tech titan says it is “adding fine-grained controls that will enable you to ‘graphic-equalise’ and fine-tune your stream”. “When viewing the stream for a particular circle, you’ll now see a slider at the top that lets you adjust how posts from that circle should be blended into the main stream,” it says.

Google claims that among the most “useful and valuable features of the redesigned Google bar is the red notifications indicator”. It acknowledges, however, that “the notifications themselves have been a little cryptic, often requiring you to navigate to the content itself to understand what happened”. In what it says is a bid to combat this, Google has introduced “sneak previews”. The sneak previews, it says, “immediately present what’s new and why you might care”. Google also claims that users will now be able to see which of their posts have been +1’d.

“Improvements” to Google+ Pages
Google+ Pages attracted a lot of attention from the tech community at large when it launched. It appears, however, that those brands who’ve already made use of the new feature made a number of modification requests. According to Google, the features resulting from this acquiescence include:

  • You can now delegate up to 50 named managers as administrators for a page.
  • A new notification flow will ensure that these managers stay in the loop on all the activity that takes place on a page, giving managers the ability to stay involved in page conversations.
  • We’ll now show an aggregated count of users that have engaged with your page, either by +1’ing it or by adding it to a circle. This way, both you and your page’s visitors can get an at-a-glance summary of who is interacting with your page.

Say Cheese
Google claims to have “completely redesigned the photo viewing experience in Lightbox, “with improved navigation, enhanced comment legibility and better overall utility. Google says that the redesign takes the photo the hero, letting the content itself shine through. And we’re introducing a completely new photo-tagging experience that’s both fun and fluid, and lets you quickly focus on the people in your photos.”

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