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Google+ redesign gives tablet users more options

by Michael Singer

May 15 2013

Wanna hang out? Google is hoping you will share photos and video whether you are on an iPad or Nexus 10
Wanna hang out? Google is hoping you will share photos and video whether you are on an iPad or Nexus 10

Hoping to encourage more people to hang out with its multimedia software, Google is revamping its Plus products to better connect iOS, Android, and web-based platforms.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Under the moniker of “Modern Design, Many Devices,” more than 41 changes to Google+ are scheduled for rollout this month. Enhancements include simplifying the interface to allow for touch and swiping manipulation that act similar to Google’s “Now” cards and a three-column alignment some media outlets suggest looks like photo social site Pinterest.

The added features also allow Google+ users to stream content and communicate better among the various mobile platforms: web via Chrome browser, Android devices, and iOS devices. Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of Engineering and Social acknowledged that even Google did not do an exemplary job of cross-supporting text, photos, and video across laptops, tablets and smartphones.

“We want to make it so the operating system doesn’t matter, ” Gundotra said during the Google I/O keynote. “We want to focus on when people are happiest. That’s when they’re just hanging out.”

Google+ does have its benefits for tablet users. The company has separated its Hangout feature as a separate app that will work on the desktop, Android and Apple devices, so users can connect with up to 10 people at a time from anywhere. The scroll and pinch functions of tablets also make browsing through content quicker. Google’s addition of special hashtags will also allow users to find in-depth content based on their Google+ posts.

Additionally, Google is automatically adding cloud-based software that will automatically enhance your Google+ photostream, brighten landscapes and even soften out the wrinkles on people’s faces. Backup storage for Google’s photo service will be increased to 15GB up from the previous 5GB.

While nowhere near the reach of a competitive social site like Facebook or the ubiquity of a communication tool like Skype, Google+ is gaining acceptance. The company reports 190 million monthly active users in its Hangout streaming service with an additional 390 million monthly active users across Google and the web.

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