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Google+ Redesign: What You Need to Know

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During a a three hour long keynote at the I/O conference, Google announced 41 new features for Google+, including a new look stream and profile pages, hashtags, trending topics, photo enhancement and greater integration with Hangouts.

We've tried out some of the most important and interesting (below) for your perusal. All of these features were rolled out immediately and are available now.

Redesigned Layout

The design of the stream and profile is quite reminiscent of Pinterest and the yet to be released Facebook newsfeed. Each post is in a box in a two-column view with a slide out navigation to the left handside. You can now use hashtags in posts, in the same way as Twitter, and clicking on them will take you to other posts tagged with that hashtag.

What's Hot

The 'What's Hot' section shows you what is popular across Google+, including trending hashtags, along with giving you suggested pages and photos to add and communities to join. These popular posts will also show up in your newsfeed, if you choose, and you can choose to have more or less show up as well as turning them off completely.

Photos – Auto Awesome, Auto Enhance

Google+ now tweaks your photos when you upload theme – Auto Enhance will improve your photo (brightness, contrast, colour tone) when you upload to your profile. Additionally, the Auto Highlight feature will also choose from a set of similar photos which one of your pictures is the best and use that at the forefront of your album.

Auto Awesome (it is called that) will make changes to a set of photos based on how they are taken. For example 5 photos of someone smiling, Auto Awesome will choose the best smile and merge it into one great photo. Or if you have a photo of a mountain, taken across several shots, the feature will stitch it together into one panoramic picture. You can also create GIFs by linking together multiple images.

Hangouts

The hangout feature now appears on the right hand side, and Google Chat is now integrated into this. You can chat to people individually the same as Google Chat, but also quickly start a 'Party' with your contacts. The left hand bar also allows you to see 'Hangouts on Air.'

The new Google+ certainly looks the part, and seems to offer greater opportunity for engagement and visibility via hashtags. The popularity of Pinterest and the redesign of Facebook to be more photo friendly definitely seem like the inspiration for Google's focus on photos – from the design of the stream to the integrated of editing features. See Google's round-up of all their changes here.

(Article and image via Our Social Times)

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