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There’s a lot happening at Google’s social network, as Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra revealed on the streaming event A Morning With Google+. The focus is clearly on Hangouts, the chat app, and the photo-sharing experience.

Hangouts has got a few new updates, perhaps the biggest of which is the fact that it now integrates with your text messaging. So when you have a contact on your phone with both the Hangouts id as well as the phone number, an SMS will from them now show up in your Hangouts, as will any normal message sent on the instant messenger. It also supports location sharing, which means you can embed maps in a chat. Gundotra also mentioned other features already reported, such as in-line animated GIFs Google Hangouts Updates On iOS To Offer Free Calling & Animated GIFs Google Hangouts Updates On iOS To Offer Free Calling & Animated GIFs Google Hangouts has a new update on iOS with a couple of really cool features, like the ability to make phone calls, Google Voice support, and animated GIFs can now play in-line in chats. Read More .

Additionally, broadcasters can schedule Hangouts On Air now, and Control Room allows for moderation.

Perhaps most significantly, Google+ will now automatically fix and enhance webcam lighting, which means those dull images from your friends sitting in a dark room will now appear much brighter for video calls.


Left: Before Snapseed HDR Scape. Right: After applying HDR Scape


Such software fixes for images are at the core of the new updates, as Google+ will be leveraging the Snapseed Everything You Need to Know About Using Snapseed in Google+ Everything You Need to Know About Using Snapseed in Google+ Google recently re-introduced Snapseed for desktop users, no matter which operating system they happen to be using. The only catch is that Snapseed is only available using Google's own browser, Chrome. Read More app to enhance your photos quickly and easily. The Auto Enhancer will almost magically tune up your images, and has different settings to let you choose how much you want your pictures fixed.

The coolest technology is the new HDR Scape filter, which brings an HDR effect to your photographs by using just software tweaks. However, Gundotra warned that this won’t work for all images. While landscapes should be fine, portraits of your friends won’t benefit from HDR Scape.

Auto Awesome brings a few cool features already found in other camera software, like taking a sequence of images and removing bad elements, or creating an action trail for photos in motion.

Finally, there’s the new Movie feature that smartly produces a highlight reel of your photos and videos, even putting a cool soundtrack. It’s really easy to edit too, letting you choose which parts you want to keep in and which you want to delete.

There’s also a lot more in the new Google+ update that you can check out in Gundotra’s full presentation.

What do you think of these new updates? Will you share photos using Google+ from now on?

Source: Google Blog

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  1. Michael Johnson
    October 30, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Have been sharing photos by G+ for a while, good enough for me. SMS in Hangouts I do not understand, but the option to relay SMS to my mailbox works okay. Sending is clumsy, but SMS seems to be an exception these days.

  2. Scroogled
    October 30, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Screw you Google. You getting no more data from me.

  3. Rick
    October 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    I keep reading about this, but I'm still not sure I understand exactly how it will work as far as the SMS goes. For starters:

    1) Can I text anyone from Hangouts - or only people who use Hangouts?

    2) If I send someone a SMS from Hangouts, and they don't have Hangouts installed on their phone, will they get the message in their normal messaging app? If they do have Hangouts installed, will they get the message in both apps?

    3) Will the message show as having came from my normal phone number - or from my Google number? I would prefer the latter, but can imagine others preferring the former.

    • Mihir Patkar
      October 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      So as I understand it (and I am in no way an authority here), the first step is that your Hangouts gets linked to your phone number. Now, if you have a friend on Hangouts who has done the same, then when you message him through Hangouts, it'll send a Hangout message. If you message him through the text messaging app, it'll send an SMS that appears in his Hangout (and, I think, also appears in his regular messaging app).

      The idea is to keep one chain of messages between two contacts, irrespective of the app they are using--whether Hangouts or text messaging.

      I guess we'll find out more after actually using it, but that's how I think it is supposed to work.

    • Rick
      October 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm