Google's event yesterday was all about Google+ on mobile and the web, and while that must have been disappointing for the hyped-up crowd that was hoping for some cool hardware announcements, it confirmed several new features for the service.
The main focus was set on hangouts, a closely integrated service in Google+ that enables users to chat with each other (text, voice or video), and on Google+'s photo and video functionality for mobile devices.
You can read up on the changes and new features on the official Google+ blog if you like, or continue with the article below as it offers a summary of the things that you may find interesting.
Note: The new features for Android will roll out in the next couple of days, while the new hangout functionality will be available over the next weeks.
Google announced four main Hangout features during the event that will roll out in the coming weeks.
- Hangouts on Air can now be scheduled and promoted with a dedicated watch page.
- Hangouts on Android support SMS and location sharing now. You can now send and receive SMS without switching apps.
- The video calling experience has been improved according to Google. It is now full screen, and will fix and enhance webcam lighting automatically for users.
- Animated gifs play inline now.
Photo and Video improvements
A boatload of features was announced to improve the mobile photo and video experience on Google+.
- Google has improved the object detection algorithm in photos. The company states that it can now detect over a 1000 different objects and will include them in searches. So, if you are searching for dogs, you may get dog photos in the results even if they are named or tagged with related terms.
- The Auto Enhance feature can now be adjusted up or down for more control over the process. You can furthermore blacklist albums so that they are not processed ever.
- The new HDR Scape filter for Snapseed can create HDR effects from a single photo.
- Three new options have been added to Auto Awesome:
- Eraser takes a bunch of photos and removes any "moving" object from them, for instance people who pass by while you are making a photo of an object.
- Movie creates a movie -- with effects and sound -- automatically from your photos and videos.
- Action takes multiple photos from the same shot and merges them together into one.
Note: Auto Awesome Movie works only on select Android 4.3 devices.
Here is a short video demonstrating the capabilities of the Auto Awesome movie creation feature.
If you are using Hangouts regularly, or work with photos or videos in combination with Google+, then you may appreciate the new features that Google announced yesterday. While you may not be able to use them all, depending on your version of Android, the majority of features should become available to you in the coming days and weeks.