Monday, May 20, 2013

Google+ for Android: 42

Everyone knows that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42. So in addition to last week’s 41 new features, we’re launching another major update: a brand new Android app. Here’s a quick look at the improvements in photos, location, and the stream.

Great photos, in less time

Organizing and editing photos takes lots of time — time most of us don’t have — so today’s update helps you make more beautiful images faster. The new photos experience on Android includes:

  • Auto Backup, to safely and privately store your photos as you snap them
  • Auto Highlight, to browse a selection of top shots from every set of photos you add
  • Auto Enhance, to make subtle improvements to the people and places in your images, automatically
  • Auto Awesome, to create fun new versions of your pictures (like animations and panoramas) based on the photos in your library

Getting started with these features is as simple as uploading a few pictures, then visiting the Photos section of the new Android app. There you can view your Highlights, review Google’s enhancements (and undo them, of course), and enjoy any awesome’d pictures you’ve got waiting for you.

Once you’re freed from labor-intensive photo tasks, you may discover an appetite for more artistic enhancements, and we’ve got you covered there too. Today’s Android update includes some of Snapseed’s award-winning photography tools — from filters like Drama and Retrolux to more specific controls like saturation and contrast — all inside the app.

All together, today’s photo improvements make it easy and enjoyable to take your photographs, and make them great.

Location sharing, with just the right circles

If (and only if) someone’s sharing their location with you, you’ll see their current whereabouts on their Google+ profile. Today we’re improving this experience by including a new “Locations” section in the Android app. Tapping “Locations” will display your friends’ current locations on a map, making it easier to make plans and meet up.

As always: you decide whether to share your location, and with whom. And you can always turn the feature on or off in settings.

More to explore, directly from the stream

Last week we talked about how most feeds are rather flat. You can swipe through stuff that’s been shared with you, but it’s really hard to read more about a particular topic. We introduced related hashtags as a way to fix this problem, and today we’re bringing them to the Android app. These Google-added tags will appear at the top-right of individual posts (#GoogleIO2013, in this example), and tapping on them will reveal streams of relevant content:

You can always remove Google-added tags from your own content (on single posts, or on all of them). And we always give preference to the tags you add manually. We’re just excited about giving people new ways to explore the stuff they’re into.

More on the way

Photos, location and the stream are only some of the things we’ve improved in today’s update. Notifications are nicer to look at and easier to use. You can edit additional profile fields on the go. And there’s one-tap access to the all new Hangouts app — just to name a few.

Google+ for Android is rolling out to Google Play throughout the day, so look for the update (v4.0), and let us know what you think. And of course: stay tuned for 43.

Posted by +Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Product, Google+

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