10 New Features Added to Google+
by Leslie Meredith, Senior Writer, TechNewsDaily
19 December 2011 04:23 PM ET
Google has added a gaggle of new tools to Google+ designed to give users of the fledgling social network more control over what they see.
"These aren't bells-and-whistles, but really deep improvements that I'm sure you are going to love," Bradley Horowitz, Google+ vice president, wrote on Google+.
1 new slider for circle control
First up is a slider to adjust how much content from circles is included in a user's homepage stream. The bar can be adjusted to see nothing from a circle in the stream all the way up to seeing everything that's posted.
The feature will involve some trial and error as users determine just how showing "less" or "more" from a circle affects their stream. Users have the opportunity to create their own "perfect streams," Horowitz said.
2 notification improvements
Bright-red notification numbers that show new Google+ activity appear in the toolbar across all Google properties whenever users have logged into their accounts. Horowitz said the notifications have been "a little cryptic" and often require users to click through to understand what they indicate.
- Google has added "sneak previews" that will help users see exactly what's happened without that extra click-through. The previews are similar to the page previews Google has added to its search result pages, so that people can determine whether the new page is what they were looking for. For instance, the notification dropdown is organized by post and includes the profile photo of the most recent commenter.
- Notifications will also include +1s and shares, adding to circle additions and new comments.
3 brand-management tools
Google launched Pages for brands last month and now adds three top-requested features.
- Google+ can now accommodate up to 50 managers per page to help spread the work across a company and allow multiple official spokespeople for brands. To add a manager, click settings and then look for "Managers" on the left navigation panel. Click to reveal a box where a new manager can be added by typing that manager's email address.
- Google has added notifications to brand pages that work in the same way as notifications for individual pages.
- Google+ Pages now include a total count of users that have added the Page to their circles and a count of +1s and shares.
3 views for Google+ Photos
Lightbox, the interface for viewing and editing photos, has been overhauled. Google touts improved navigation, enhanced comment-legibility and better overall utility.
- The designated space for photos in Lightbox has been enlarged: With a click, photos can fill the screen. Comments appear in shaded boxes at the bottom of photos when viewing photos in full-screen slideshow format.
- Alternately, photos can be viewed in the smaller default format that allows room for a running panel of comments to the right of a photo.
- Finally, Google+ photos now includes a "bird's eye" view that displays thumbnails of photos in a particular album.
Google+ has also revamped its photo tagging. Select "add a new tag" and circles will appear on the photo around faces — solid for those who have already been tagged and dashed for those who have not.
Horowitz said the 10 new features will be rolling out to users over the next few days. In the meantime, type in "Let It Snow" in Google's search box for a seasonal treat.