If you got swept up in the hardware bonanza of Google I/O yesterday, you’re not alone. But it turns out Google also revealed a long list of software and app updates, included a lengthy list of changes for its fledgling and struggling social network Google+.
Google brought our attention to the Google+ tablet app as well as Google+ Events, a big update that is full of fun features like cinemagraphs, event invites, slideshows… you name it. But there are a couple other social elements Google will introduce that didn’t get as much spotlight.
For starters, Google’s going to start unifying its various real time messaging clients. According to Gigaom, Google says Hangouts, Google Talk, and the G+ Messenger will be combined into one multipurpose messaging solution. For anyone who’s been signed into Gmail and chatting with another Google user only to open up G+ and find themselves have the same, identical conversation in another screen, you know how mildly annoying the real time talk options can get. It makes using Gmail and G+ at the same time obnoxious, and Google needs to be doing everything it can to keep us using the latter of these two, not pushing us away. It’s time to cut out some of this overlap.
The solution will be one chat product that provides us with the ability to chat, host private video calls, or launch group sessions.
Moving on. Google tells VentureBeat that it will also introduce a feature called Google+ History. “This new API will let you add past statuses, updates, purchases, pictures, and more to you [sic] personal Google+ timeline from a variety of social and mobile services. These objects are displayed in pretty tiles called ‘moments.’” Right off the bat, we can assume that Facebook won’t be one of the cooperating third party social sites allowing Google+ to import information. These two have notoriously refused to play nice, and while Facebook is more than happy to act as platform for all your outside social activity, it has no intentions of parting with your data (unless you choose to export and download all that data yourself, that is. So I suppose you could manually log all that info into Google+ if you’re the one person in the world that cares that much).
Lastly, there are a handful of new apps for Hangouts built by outside developers. Symphonical is a business tool for Hangouts, and Panoramio challenges users in a Hangout to find where a picture was taken.
Will the changes spur be enough of a pick-me-up for Google+? The site still has a long way to go, but I can think of one ploy that would certainly drive an audience: mass release Google Glasses and make sharing compatible only with G+. Problem solved. I take credit, check, or cash, Google.