Today Google+ is getting a huge update with 41 new features, including a brand new multi-column layout with customization options.
Rolling out later today, the new interface bears resemblance to the layout adopted for its iPad and Android tablet apps last June. The Pinterest-esque design replaces the long list of posts, photos, and comments that currently makes up the stream.
You’ll want to be a bit more conscious os the content you’re sharing as it’ll now be represented in a Card-like post split across three columns. This should allow for quicker scanning of content so members don’t have to scroll endlessly for something to engage with. Google+ has also made it easier to find related content.
In an effort to better categorize all of the content being shared within these Cards, the company will automatically add a hashtag to your post. When clicked, the card will flip around to help viewers discover similar content. This could help to give engagement a much-needed boost on the social network.
Auto-hashtags aren’t just limited to posts with text in them. Using photo-recognition technology, Google+ was able to categorize a picture of the Eiffel Tower accurately. This creates a lot of opportunity for brands hoping to implement hashtag campaigns. It’s also beneficial for events and conferences, as photos and text updates can share the same hashtag, even if forgotten by the original poster.
That said, this feature can be turned off. If you prefer to have a bit more control, you can also customize the auto-hashtags. As not to confuse viewers, grayed out hashtags are the ones automatically added by Google while blue ones are added by the sharer.
The new design is responsive and will adjust to different screen sizes. If someone has a larger screen, he or she can add more columns and take advantage of the extra white space. Other media like photos and videos will stretch across multiple columns, helping them to stand out a bit. Photos also received several new features, including auto-selecting your best shots, enhancing your photos, and easier creation of collages.
The editing features will especially come in handy for those of you sharing lots of visuals. Google+ will be able to recognize faces, remove noise, sharpen images, and more. You should also be aware of the storage updates Google made earlier this week that could have an impact on the size of the photos you’re uploading to Google+.
Google also introduced a new Hangouts app that combines the company’s different real-time conversation products like Google Talk, Google Voice, and Google+ Hangouts. It’ll launch on all platforms later today, including iOS, Android, and the Web.
Although Google didn’t detail all 41 new features, they’re based around three areas of the service: Stream, Hangouts, and Photos. The service has evolved a bit since its launch two years ago, but today’s major overhaul will likely be welcomed by Google+’s 390 million monthly active users.