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Google+ Social Network Opens To All Plus Sixteen New Features Announced

Google+, Google’s social networking project today recevied about 91 improvements, which the company will be rolling out globally over the next few days. Here is what’s next in Google+:

+Hangouts: more places, more people, more to do
Hangouts uses live video to bring people together, face-to-face-to-face. Here are some improvements coming to Hangouts:

92. Hangouts on your mobile phone — To get started, simply find an active hangout in the Stream, and tap “Join”. Please note; Hangouts currently supports Android 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras and iOS support is coming soon. The new mobile app is released to Android Market, so you can start hanging out at any time, from just about anywhere.

Hangouts on your phone: Stream View (left), Green Room (center), Portrait Mode (right)

93. Hangouts On Air
Google introducing Hangouts On Air. “Just start a normal hangout, and you’ll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you’re “On Air,” up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast,” explained Vic Gundatora.

It’s currently available to a limited number of broadcasters, but any member of the Google+ community can tune in. Google will be hosting On Air hangout with will.i.am on Wednesday night, September 21.

For more information visit will.i.am’s or my profile on Google+.

Hangouts On Air: Stream View (left), Full-screen Mode (right)

94, 95, 96, 97. Hangouts with extras including as mentioned under. The extras are still under construction, to start a hangout, click “Try Hangouts with extras” in the green room, and let us know what you think.

  • Screensharing: for when you want to show off your vacation photos, your high score, your lesson plan or whatever else is on your screen
  • Sketchpad: for when you want to draw, doodle, or just scribble together
  • Google Docs: for when you want to write, plan or present something with others
  • Named Hangouts: for when you want to join or create a public hangout about a certain topic (like fashion or music or sports…)

Hangouts with extras: Screensharing (left), Sketchpad (right)

Hangouts with extras: Docs (left), Named Hangouts (right)

98. Google+ Hangouts APIs released today enables you to add your own experiences to Hangouts and instantly build real-time applications, just like our first application, the built-in YouTube player.

“The integration model is simple — you build a web app, register it with us, and specify who on your team can load it into their Hangout. Your app behaves like a normal web app, plus it can take part in the real-time conversation with new APIs like synchronization. Now you can create a “shared state” among all instances of your app so that all of your users can be instantly notified of changes made by anyone else. (This is how the YouTube player keeps videos in sync.) And we’ve added our first few multimedia APIs so you can, for example, mute the audio and video feeds of Hangout participants,” explains Richard Dunn, Technical lead, Google+ platform for Hangouts.

You can read the documentation, sign up, and start coding

+Search: find the people and posts you care about

99. Search in Google+
Google also introduced today Google’s search experience to Google+. “Just type what you’re looking for into the Google+ search box, and we’ll return relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web,” Gundatora said.

In all cases, Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news.

Search in Google+: photography (left), cooking (right)


100. Anyone can sign up for Google+–no invitation required.
Google+ is now moved from field trial to beta, and introduce “open signups. “This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about.

101, 102, 103. You asked for it
The following three more things have been launched in Google+ mobile:

  • Improved SMS support. Users in the US and India can now post to Google+, receive notifications, and respond to group messages via SMS (with more countries on the way). To start texting, just verify your phone number in Google+ settings.
  • Improved +mentions support. To add someone in your circles to a conversation (or simply get their attention), you can now +[their name] inside a post or comment.
  • +1’ing comments. When you read a great comment in the Stream, you can now +1 it directly from your iOS device (with Android coming soon).

SMS (left), +mentions (center), +1’ing comments (right)

104, 105, 106. Giving you more choices
The following three new options introduced to mobile users:

  • Edit your profile photo. You can now put your best face forward, from where you happen to be. Just visit your profile, click edit, and you can choose or take a new picture.
  • Customize your notifications. Some notifications may be more important than others, especially when you’re on the go. Now you can decide which ones you see (or not) on your phone.
  • Make some room. If you’re taking lots of photos, or installing lots of apps, then internal storage can sometimes shrink. That’s why you can now move the Google+ app to SD storage on Android devices.

Edit your profile photo (left), Notification settings (center), Move to USB (right)

107. So long Huddle, hello Messenger (and hi there, photos)
Google announced of renaming Huddle to Messenger, and also added a new functionality to Messenger that makes group communication even more fun: photo sharing. So now when you’re sitting down for a meal, or kicking back on vacation, you can show your circles what’s happening, right this second.

You can try the new app on Android and the mobile web, and on iOS.

Messenger: Homescreen (left), Choosing a Photo (center), Posting a Photo (right)

108. the +1 button is coming to display ads
Google+ project is expanding to the Google Display Network. “Starting early October,Google is expanding that to include display ads across the web on both desktop and mobile. For the first time, you’ll be able to run social-enabled ad campaigns that work across millions of sites in over 40 countries around the world,” announced Eider Oliveira, Senior Software Engineer.

“The +1 button and personal annotations will begin to appear on AdSense for content and AdSense for mobile content display ad formats–image, animated gif, and Flash ads at the bottom of display ads,” announced Christian Oestlien, AdSense Product Manager.

On desktop, the +1 button and recommendations will appear at the bottom of display ads, then fade out until the viewer hovers over the ad. The viewer can also close the overlays by clicking the ‘x’.

“With a single click, people will now be able to endorse specific ads and make them more likely to appear to their social connections.”

“What’s even better is that the +1 button on display ads will work together with +1 buttons on search results, search ads, and websites. A single +1 applies to the same content across the web, no matter where it appears.”

Oliveira said “On the GDN, the +1 button will be added to image, animated GIF, Flash, Display Ad Builder ads and select mobile inventory. You can also choose to include the +1 button on your DoubleClick Rich Media ads, which can run on or off the GDN.”

However, “if you’re not sure that you want the +1 button and recommendations associated with your ads, starting today you can opt-out at the campaign level in AdWords under campaign settings,” added Oliveira.

Oestlien said “+1’s will be one additional signal that help determine an ad’s relevance. All eligible ads will continue to compete in the ad auction, and we’ll continue to show the ones that will generate the most revenue for you. +1 button clicks are not counted as clicks on ads. Although you won’t receive any revenue for +1 button clicks, +1’s will help AdSense to deliver more useful ads to your users, which we think will result in higher returns over time.”

If you’d prefer not to allow the use of +1 features and social annotations on display ads on your pages, you can opt out starting today by signing in to your account at google.com/adsense.

On mobile, the +1 button will replace the existing ‘g’ logo and recommendations will appear for several seconds, then fade out.

+1 Button in DoubleClick Rich Media

Also, “advertisers now have the option to include the +1 button in any DoubleClick Rich Media ad,” announced Sally Cole, Product Marketing Manager. This new option provides rich media advertisers with a simple and scalable way to increase positive and public advocacy of their brand online.

“Wherever a +1 action originates, be it from Google’s search engine, in a display or mobile ad on GDN, in a DoubleClick Rich Media ad or from a web page, the +1 endorsement applies universally to a single page. Each +1 action adds to the overall +1 count for a page,” Cole added.

For more details and best practices on including the +1 button in DoubleClick Rich Media ad units, download the overview guide here.

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