Google has rolled out a brand new layout for Google Plus. It is a beautiful, immersive update and it comes with some really great new features. I definitely think that Google has taken a giant leap forward with all of these new changes. Below are the 5 best features of this new Google Plus update.
1) Auto Hashtagging – My absolute favorite thing about the new layout is the auto hashtag feature. It makes it ridiculously easy to find new content and new people to follow. Here’s how it works.
Google is able to scan your posts and photos and automatically place the correct hashtag in the upper right hand corner of your post. When someone clicks on a hashtag, the post flips over and displays similar posts. You can then scroll through other posts on that topic without having to leave your stream. It is pure genius.
2) More Immersive Design – Google Plus has a new 3 column design that is attractive and easy to read. They have have gone to hidden menus that slide out from the side and top to give you more room for your content. It is also a dynamic design, so that if you make the window smaller, it will move to a double or single column layout. Don’t like the multi-columns? You have the option to change to a single column layout.
I’ll be honest that the new layout jarred me when I first saw it. I thought, “Oh no, Timeline!” The more I use it the more I really like it. I even switched to the single column to see if I would prefer that and switched back to the new view almost immediately.
3) The “New” button – This may seem a little a trivial thing, but I really like the “New” button Google added. I always hated when my stream continued to scroll as I read. It made me feel really rushed. I know Google Plus had a pause button, but for me, it just doesn’t work as well as this “New” button does. In this new design, your view stays stationary, but as new posts arrive, a blue button pops up with “New” in the corner of the screen. It shows a number count of the new posts that are waiting for you. When you are ready, you simply click the button and all of the new posts appear at once and the process starts over again. I really like how I can take my time and when I am ready for the new content, I just click the button.
4) Photo Highlights – I have always loved the Google Plus Auto Upload photo feature. I tend to go a little crazy with the camera and click shots of everything. When I get home, it’s such a chore to sort through all of the photos.
Google to the rescue! They have added a new section in Photos called “Highlights.” Google uses some very cool technical wizardry to scan through all of your photos and pick out the best shots. It then hides shots that are blurry, overexposed, duplicates, etc, and leaves you with the cream of the crop. All of the rest of your photos are just a click away if you still want to look through them yourself. I checked several photos, and was very impressed with the choices that Google’s software had made. It sure will make it easier to post photos when I already have the 5 or 10 best shots waiting for me.
5) Photo Enhancement – Google isn’t just organizing your photos for you, it’s also making them look better with an Auto Enhance feature. As your photos are uploaded to Google Plus, Google works their magic on them. It corrects color, over exposure, applies noise reduction, takes out red eye, and even softens wrinkles. It does all of this automatically to make your photos look their best. If you go into your Photo section and click on a photo, you can see what the photo looked like before the enhancements. Just roll over the top left hand corner of the photo and you will see a button that says “enhanced.” Clicking on the button and holding it down will change the photo to its original state. Release the mouse button and you can see the enhanced photo again. If you prefer the original photo, the revert button is right there.
These Auto Enhanced feature can be switched off on a global or individual photo level.
Honorable Mention goes to “Hangouts”
Google is merging their separate chat systems into 1 global chat program with the name “Hangouts.” As of right now only “Talk” and “Hangout Video Chat” has been merged. Google Messenger service is still a separate entity. According to a Google Plus post by Ben Eidelson:
People have been asking about how Messenger will be affected by Hangouts, the new communications product Google launched today. Hangouts replaces–and improves on the functionality of Messenger. We are working quickly to bring your Messenger conversation history into Hangouts. Until then we will continue to keep Messenger available for users in the Google+ mobile apps.
The ability to access my Google Messenger service was the one feature I have been asking for since back when they still called it Huddle. I will reserve judgment over the new chat system until I see how it operates with Google Messenger integration.
Have you checked out the new Google Plus and all of it’s new features. What do you think? Which new feature is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.