Creativity, design thinking, and innovation were all on display as the finalists in the South African phase of Huawei’s global Apps UP Competition were…
A ghost town you say? Not quite. According to Google, its networking site / online social identity is still growing — it’s now up to 300-million monthly active users from 100-million in September last year.
In addition to the 300-million who use Google Plus ‘in the stream’ — meaning via the apps or social functionality on the plus.google.com website — Google also says there are 540-million monthly active users overall, if you include those who use some form of Google functionality, such as +1 buttons on other websites or commenting on a space that uses Google sign in (like YouTube and some blogs). According to senior vice president of engineering for Google, Vic Gundotra, Google also sees more than 1.5-billion photos uploaded to Google Plus every week.
While the way Google reports its numbers is different to other social sites (are you really a Google Plus user if you just occasionally +1 stuff?), 300-million monthly active users makes its social play bigger than Twitter (which has 232-million monthly users), LinkedIn (200-million registered users) and Instagram (150-million monthly active users), but less than a third of the way to Facebook’s massive 1.15-billion monthly users.
To help make sure Google Plus continues to grow, Google also rolled out 18 new updates to Google Plus Hangouts, photos and videos. At a special event yesterday, Gundotra announced a host of new functionality, including the ability to share your location and switch between SMS and normal chat in Hangouts on Android, as well as being able to watch gifs from within the app. Broadcasters can also now schedule Hangouts, users can fix lighting in their videos, and there have been numerous updates to everything from Google’s photo editing app, Snapseed, to photo backups on iOS.
Google has also started publicly rolling out the ability to claim your vanity URL — an option previously reserved for authenticated accounts. According to (what else, a Google Plus post by) product manager Otavio Silva, users should receive an email and see the option on their page soon, if they’ve had an account for more than 30 days, have more than 10 followers and a profile photo.