Google+ is a ghost town, right?
That sounds so cool at a conference. It’s edgy. It’s definitive. It’s a little nasty. It’s anti-Google. It’s also completely misdirected.
Google+ is something we have not seen in the world of social media. It is a productivity tool that has been mistakenly cast (by our industry for the most part) as a social network. Sure, there are the social elements that mimic or recreate other social experiences that support the ‘kitten sharing’ side of the social web.
Thankfully, though the true Google+ is about bringing people together to get stuff done. Today Google released 18 new features around mobile, photos, hangouts and more. Oh, and the main thing that makes it different from other ‘social networks’? It’s funded by a seemingly endless well of cash by a company that can afford to wait for it to evolve.
Google says that the new Google+ app will be available on the Google Play store later today, while the other features will go live over the next couple of days. You many have seen or used some of them before today, but Google has included them all in its big update announcement to promote their use.
As for iOS, there is no word on whether some of the above features will make the jump to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
As Google says: ’Tis the Season for Shipping.
With that mention of iOS devices one wonders just how generous Google will be with their Google+ app for them since Google+ has no advertising element to it (yet) like the Google Maps app does. That will be fun to watch either way.
Back to the updates. The ‘above features’ mentioned in the TNW quote are rolled out quite clearly in this post by Google VP of Engineering, Dave Besbris. Some highlights include
From the start, the Google+ team has been committed to building an industry-leading mobile experience. Today we’re adding a new batch of Android features, including on-the-go profile editing, an easier way to author content, and a subtle notice when there’s new stuff to read. You can also subscribe to mobile notifications from your favorite circles and interact with Google+ Communities on your phone or tablet.
We’re especially excited about our photo improvements—a core part of Google+, and one which you’ve consistently told us means a lot to you.
On Android, we’re now offering full-size backups of your photos (up to 5GB free), in addition to the standard-size option (unlimited free storage at 2048px). To give it a try, simply turn on Instant Upload and start taking pictures: photos you shoot will be saved to a private album on Google+.
We’re also bringing photo spheres to the mobile stream. You’ll need Android 4.2 to create these 360-degree panoramas, but any Froyo-or-later user can now enjoy them.
There’s more but we’ll wait for the updates to go live before we start talking about what they will or will not mean to Google+ users and those considering jumping on board.
‘Tis the season to consider Google+? Let us know your thoughts.