The Washington Post

Google+ adds 24 features, including photo improvements

A Google+ logo is seen at Google's annual developer conference, Google I/O, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif. in this June 28, 2012 file photo in California. (Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images)

Google added 24 new features to its network and launched new apps for both its and Apple’s mobile operating systems.

Improvements to photography management are at the heart of the update. Users are able to save full-sized backups of photos uploaded to the site through Google’s “Instant Upload” feature.

On Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS, users can now swipe through their photo albums and do some basic profile editing from their phones.

The company also added some features to make the social network a bit more, well, social. With Google Events, users can now send messages to specific guests instead of the whole list and can also see who’s opened their invite. Google has also dropped the amount of bandwidth needed for a Hangout, making it a more accessible tool for video conferencing.

Google also added new conversation cards to the iOS app that offer bigger picture previews and more post information at a glance. Android users get animated gif files, birthday reminders through Google Now and a Google+ widget that can be applied to the lock screen.

The update shows that Google isn’t giving up on its social network, despite the many assertions from tech watchers that the service is a ghost town. According to a blog post from the company last week, Google+ now has 135 million users who actively post to the site, while 235 million use features such as hangouts or the +1 button.

Google reported in September that the network had 100 million active users after a year. That shows the site is still growing — even if it is far from the 1 billion users that rival network Facebook can claim.

Related stories:

Google fights mobile misclicks with new ad format

Google, Facebook release year-end lists

Google Maps returns to the iPhone

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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