Google Plus bolsters photo, hangout features

Google Plus got a grand total of 24 new features in an update released today, along with new mobile app versions for both Android and iOS devices.

The Google Plus team, in an official blog post, particularly highlighted the platform's new photo capabilities, which include 5GB of free cloud storage for full-size backups of pictures taken on Android devices and several improvements to the iOS app's photo album interface. As before, unlimited free backup space is available for pictures of 2048px resolution or below.

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Additionally, users on devices running Android 2.2 or later can now view photospheres, the panoramic shots that were introduced with the latest Jelly Bean update.

Google Plus Vice President of Engineering Dave Besbris wrote that the team had also updated Google Plus' hangout feature.

"For those who can't attend your party in person, Hangouts offers a free and convenient way to keep in touch. Today, we're making it possible to connect with friends even in parts of the world with extremely low bandwidth. Once enabled, you'll only need about 150 KB of bandwidth to be in a hangout," he said.

A number of other tweaks were added, as well, including conversation cards for media content on the iOS app and GIF capability and Google Now birthday reminders for the Android version.

As of Friday morning, the new version of the Android app is available, but the latest iOS app has apparently not yet gone live. Google says both are scheduled for deployment today, however.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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Tags unified communicationsInternet-based applications and servicesapplicationsNetworkingiPhoneAndroidwirelessGoogle PlusinternetGoogleconsumer electronicsWeb 2.0smartphonessoftwaresocial mediacollaborationmobile apps

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