Sep 20 AT 1:13 PM Edgar Cervantes 47 Comments

16 new Google+ features; open sign ups, Mobile Hangouts

google plus

Google+ has been around for almost 3 months now. The Search Giant’s exciting new social network has been great since the beginning, but there are definitely features we’ve been asking for or complaining about. There’s always room for improvement, and the development team has been working hard on that. Today, Google announced 16 new features (upgrades 92-107) covering some of the main user requests.

Mobile Hangouts and open sign ups are the two main features on the list. The need to use a PC for joining Hangouts has been one of the most frustrating things since the release of Google+. We kept asking for mobile access to Hangouts, and the feature has finally arrived.

Features 92-100 will be rolling out throughout the day, while the rest will be coming in the near future. Let’s take a closer look at these to see what the Google+ team has been working on:

92: Mobile Hangouts

This is the first, and one of the most important, of the features. There is one catch, though. This is only available for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and above. This is not a small percentage of the Android user population, but there are still many of you rocking Android 2.2 Froyo.

Those with Gingerbread and above can simply press the “Start Hangout” buttons on your Google+ stream to get in on the action.

93: Hangouts “On Air”

Hangouts are fun, but they’re still limited to 10 users at a time. Those who want to reach the masses can now use Hangouts On Air. This has the same concept as a Hangout, but your video conference will be broadcasted and recorded for everyone else to take a look at. Upon starting a Hangout, the user will be able to go “On Air,” and the magic simply happens.

94-97: More treats for Hangouts

These are extra features you can use during Hangouts for sharing. (Much like the YouTube tab). Now you can share more things with your friends using the following features:

  • Screensharing: Show off your vacation photos, your high score, your lesson plan or whatever else is on your screen.
  • Sketchpad: Draw, doodle or just scribble together.
  • Google Docs: Write, plan or present something with others.
  • Named Hangouts: Join or create a public Hangout about a certain topic (fashion, music, sports, etc.).

98: Hangout API available for developers

If you’re a developer and want to let your creative side flow, you can now take the API and create your own apps. The possibilities seem endless, so if you want to play around with this, have at it! Grab it from the Google+ Platform Blog.

99: Search Google+

Google is known as the “Search Giant,” but until now we were unable to search the Google+ platform. Now, users can simply type key words into the search box, and relevant people and material will be shown in your stream. Good for finding users and/or posts about your personal interests!

100: Open sign ups

Remember when getting into Google+ was quite the privilege? We were a small community of mostly tech enthusiasts. While this has changed in time, and it is much easier to get an invitation, you still need your friends to press that “Send” button to get in on the action.

Those days are over. Everyone can be part of the Google+ movement now.

101-103: Google+ Mobile improvements

The Google+ app is missing various features available in the browser version. Now you can use the +name feature to mention a person. Android users will also soon be able to +1 comments. (iOS got it first?!)

But the most important improvement is SMS support. Yes, users can now use SMS to post, receive notifications and respond to group messages in Google+. This is quite exciting if you happen to not own a smartphone (or if you simply do not like the app or mobile browser platforms).

  • 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 your 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 (Android coming soon).

104-106: Customization

Android fans love choices, and that’s what this section is all about.

  • Edit your profile photo. You can now put your best face forward from wherever you happen to be. Just visit your profile, click edit and 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 don’t see) 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.

107: No more Huddles

Before you freak out, Google is simply changing the name and adding some more features. Huddles will still exist, but in another form. This feature will now be called Google+ Messenger, and will actually support image sharing. Everything else should stay the same, so this is simply an upgrade with a name change.

Wrap up

Google+ has just gotten much better, and we definitely can’t wait to try out the new features. Google+ is still a very young social network, though, and there’s always room for improvement. You can count on the Google team working hard to make things better in the future, so keep on sending them feedback! If you’d like to see the full list of upgrades, click here.

So get ready for this new batch of features, because they’ll be rolling out anytime now. Which features are you guys most excited about? Personally, Mobile Hangouts and Messenger photo sharing sound the best to me. Let us know what you think. Are there any features you’re still waiting for?

Via: Google Mobile Blog

Source: Google Mobile Blog

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://www.mlswanson.com SparkyXI

    Pretty rockin’. Awesome features… but it’s time for some of these higher-end phones *cough* *DroidCharge* *cough* to join the present and get to Gingerbread. My front-facing camera is pretty well worthless right now.

    • truth

      google+ is dead

    • King Bush II.

      Mmmh….i didnt know google plus was still alive…..

    • Tim Tebow

      Google+ is a ghost town!

  • BiGMERF

    this is a powerhouse of an update!!! just got it on the market

  • sumyunguy

    ummmm….no more G+ widget?

    • Jorge

      I dont have it too!..

    • TWiT Commander

      Did you move the app to SD or USB storage? Widgets bundled with apps can only be used if the app is installed in phone memory.

    • Matt

      I still have it?

  • TatiG

    Ok, you CANT start a hangout from mobile, but you can join an existing hangout.

    Correct me if I am wrong…

    • nick

      unfortunately, you’re right. :(

      • Rene

        You’re right! No hangouts from mobile.
        So this update isn’t as great as presented :-(

    • James Merritt

      you are right. as of right now you can only join an existing hangout from your mobile device. I’m still digging the updates but this kind of took some of the wind out of the update sail.

      • Matt B

        Agreed. If you can’t create a hangout from your mobile client then what’s the point?

        • Futureboy

          Agreed, but give it time. I’m sure they’ll roll out that feature in the not too distant future.

  • Alvin B.

    wth? Why did they block Froyo from hangouts???? A lot of us have powerful phones, but no CHOICE to upgrade ever (Galaxy S Vibrant for one!). They can’t claim the OS doesn’t support it, that’s a load of bull.

    They’re clearly trying to force people to buy newer phones just to drive sales… add enough things the new OS does that the old one “can’t do” and there you go…

    • Eduardo Ruiz

      Google doesn’t get anything from sales, as they license Android freely. All they get is ad views, which doesn’t change much from a phone upgrade.

    • TWiT Commander

      Hangout uses the front-facing camera. Android did not have an API to access multiple/front-facing camera until Gingerbread. (The video chat on EVO 4G Eclair/FroYo with Qik was a one-off hack.)

      • guy

        You have the option to put gingerbread on your phone yourself if you do some research, just reach out and void your warranty

        • CLCDAN

          Rooting your Android device does NOT void your warranty. Never did. No carrier says that. Besides, there si NO way to tell your Android device was EVER rooted if you use a sensible backup, like ROM Manager with Titanium Backup. Everyone who has ever rooted their Android devices knows this.

          You are confusing that with Apple’s “MAY void your warranty” – and THAT is carrier dependent. Verizon? Yep, JB a Verizon iPhone, consider that warranty VOIDED.

  • ben dover

    Google+ app is SOOOO much cleaner and easier to use than facebook’s app.

    Loving the new update!

    • John

      You’re retarded if you think Facebook’s app is hard to use.

      • ben dover

        I didn’t say it’s hard to use. I said google+ app is much cleaner and easier to use than facebook’s app.

      • CLCDAN

        You’re retarded if you can’t spell or read at your age.

  • Miranda de la Cruz de la Hoya Cardinal

    Useless update, because Google+ got no users! Facebook got 800,000,000 and G+ ??? 1,000,000?????
    Nobody uses G+ and nobody wants to switch!!!!

    Final nail in the coffin.

    • http://facebook.com/jestertx2001 Jes

      How come all the trolls on this site are female? Just curious.

    • ihatefanboys

      last i heard, google + had 10,000,000 unique users and it grows each day, not bad for a social network less than 6 months old…so much for “final nail in the coffin”

      better log back onto facebook, in the time it took you to post that, you missed all the endless, mindless, repetitive posts from the 200 people you really dont know, but added because you wanted to seem important to the 5 actual people you do know, but think youre a snob, but dont want to hear you suck your teeth, or groan, or cry about it, so they dont tell you.

    • CLCDAN

      THey’re not female, they’re just lazy – female is the first choice in the drop down menu.

  • Pete

    Two things I am still waiting for: the big one, Google Apps support. Friends and family won’t get on until the domains I’m using Google Apps for that they are on are able to have profiles so they don’t have to create yet another login.

    And my wishlist is a BlackBerry app. Messenger/Huddles is awesome, and mobile Hangouts with video….right there you have cross platform FaceTime and BBM killers bridging iOS and Android devices. Cover the other real remaining smartphone platform and I’d get other friends on here, too. I don’t know anyone who has a Windows phone.

    One question – how does Messenger and Hangouts compare with Google Talk, especially with Google Talk with Video? Seems like they’re two services converging on offering the same options.

  • Mark

    OMG…just the other day, I was whining about Google sleeping on G+. THESE IMPROVEMENTS AND FEATURES ARE AWESOME!! Currently updating. Although, I think they should just make the Google+ Messenger an extension of Google Talk. Too many chat services under one name.

    • CLCDAN

      Sleeping? It was released to the general public only LAST WEEK. You are the sleepy one.

  • Milos Misurovic

    oh cmon 2.2 and no hangout!!
    shame….

  • BiGMERF

    was hoping for tablet version..lol

  • http://tagenigma.com Tim Graupmann

    You can’t join a hangout if you don’t have a front facing camera. Why not? What if you have a rear facing camera. What if you don’t have a camera at all, at least you could still talk.

    You can’t start a hangout from the phone?

    Is the G+ app open source? Can we just remove the restriction?

    • CLCDAN

      You dont need a front facing cam to JOIN and hangout, you DO have to Mute Video, however.

  • Vectrex

    It needs more structured comments. At the moment they are a mess, like facebooks flat list. We need replies to replies, not just mentions. At least as good as youtubes, but default to tabbing and inlining replies (including multiple tab levels on large screen, at least one tab level on small). I often see posts with 50 replies and theyre all having multiple conversations. I don’t even bother to open them because it’s so laborious to wade through them. Please fix it

    • CLCDAN

      “Please fix it”. Are you sure you are in the right forum?

  • ihatefanboys

    hmmmm, got the update, but still got “huddles”, cant change the profile picture from the profile either…..cleared the cache, still the same. any ideas ?

  • Jason L

    ahhhh google+, the new social network that everybody heard of – but nobody uses (except some ubernerds).

    good bye google+, see ya on facebook!

  • justleave

    I have bug on Stream. Send Feedback, coment on G+ of puni.., matt (google ‘s developer) but doesn’t get fix. 1 weeks.

    I well to delete all my G+, disable Buzz in Gmail will delete G+.

    Google fix bug before add new feature.

    I don’t like indian in G+ team (puni..). Bye.

    Thanks.

    • CLCDAN

      ENGLISH MUTHA FUCKA. DO YOU SPEAK IT!?

  • Charlie Callow

    Not open to everyone – the age restriction is still in place.

  • Ben 1.0

    These new features are great, but notifications *still* don’t work for me.

  • athakerange

    The North Face Chloe Fleece Jackets Men Grey [15056] – $121.98 : Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce

    • CLCDAN

      STOP BREATHING OUR AIR.

  • Dp

    How to setup for EVO4

  • CLCDAN

    ANYONE who doesnt JOIN the forum, and stays anon can vote up or down.