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Google debuts ‘big improvements’ to Google+

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Google announced today a number of new features for Google+. The update includes additional functionality for both individual users, as well as for businesses who use the more-recenctly launched Google+ Pages. The Google+ Photos functionality has also been updated. According to the Official Google Blog, the new features will begin rolling out over the next few days.

Here’s a quick run-down of what Google+ users will soon see in their account:

For individual Google+ users:

• Graphical Circle stream prioritization: Google is adding a “volume slider,” which enables Google+ users to adjust how much or how little they see of posts from each of their Circles, in their main Stream. The range goes from nothing to everything, with a few less extreme options in between.

• Notification revamp: One of the most useful features of Google+ is the Google bar, which appears at the top of every Google-owned website. Included in the Google bar is a Google+ Notifications tab, which lets users add people to circles, comment and perform other functions of Google+ without having to actually go to the main Google+ page. Notifications will now automatically show a preview of comments, as well as the +1’s and shares a post has received.

For Google+ Pages users:

• Multi-manager support: Google now allows up to 50 people to manage a single Google+ Pages account. New managers can be added simply by inviting them via their email address. This function will be found under the Settings tab.

• Follower and +1 integration: Rather than show two different counts, one for people who have added a Google+ Page to their circles, and another for people who have +1’ed the Page, these numbers will now be added together to show a single count.

Google+ Photo Lightbox:

• Updated tagging: Tagging is now easier with a new tool, which enables users to circle the person they want to tag, and write in that person’s name below. It’s basically like Facebook, but a little more nifty.

• Highlighting: Another tagging feature, person highlighting allows users to scroll over the name of someone tagged in the picture, and a circle appears around that person’s face in the photo. Basically, this makes it easier to see who’s who in a picture — something Facebook will surely steal ASAP.

• Full screen photos: Self-explanatory — users will be able to see photos in “full-screen” mode. This is not true full-screen, however, as a black boarder still appears around the edge of the pictures. But this is actually a good thing, since it accommodates photos with different aspect ratios.

• Superimposed comments: When in full-screen mode, comments now have the ability to appear super imposed on top of the photos.

• Easier to read comments: Google has “enhanced legibility” of comments.

• Navigation: A “view all” tab at the bottom of the Lightbox makes jumping to any photo in the album much more straightforward and simple.

• ‘Seasonal’ effects kit: Since this update is coming out during the holiday season, Google has also added in a “seasonal” effects kit, so you can send your holiday cards through Google+, rather than snail mail.

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