It’s not everyday you get to see Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, introduce a new feature in Google+. Google has been busy slowly rolling out changes and improvements to the service, but today’s new additions are special. Finally, Google has enabled clickable hashtags and real-time search support.
So how do these new features work? It’s really quite simple. To use hashtags, add the pound sign to the beginning of any string of text without spaces. After the hashtag is posted, it becomes a clickable link that brings you to a variety of search results containing the tag. You can filter your results by Everything, People, Google+ Posts and Sparks. And of course the search results that come up for hashtags, or anything else for that matter, are displayed in real-time.
By pressing the “most recent” link on the search results page, posts containing your search criteria will auto-populate in real-time. If there’s something you want to see more of, or if you just want to stop the results from coming in, press the pause button.
In my personal experience, the real-time search results work well. If you search for something popular like “Android,” the results come in a little too fast to keep up with. Other than that, it’s a nice addition.
Hashtag support on the other hand is very clearly a work in progress. Let’s say you search for the hashtag #androidandme. The results aren’t just posts or articles containing the hashtag. Anything with the hashtag text, whether it’s an actual hashtag or not, will show up. And adding quotation marks doesn’t help either. Hashtags are still usable in their current state, but some advanced search options wouldn’t hurt.
What do you think? Have you had a chance to use Google+ hashtags or real-time search? Share your experiences in the comments below.