Google has launched restricted Google+ communities for businesses. Google+ communities allow a group of users to communicate without broadcasting their messages to everyone, though anyone can join the group.
The new restricted Google+ communities allow businesses to create a community that only their own employees can join. This allows businesses to keep their messages inside the organisation, though outsiders can be invited to join the group if needed.
Inside the restricted community, users can post Google Docs files, videos, events and photos. Community owners can change settings, manage members and invite more employees to join the conversation. Learn more on the Google Enterprise Blog here.
Early next year, Google will start displaying a caller’s Google+ profile pic on Android KitKat. This means callers who have entered a verified phone number on their Google+ profile will have a profile pic displayed even if they aren’t in the user’s address book. Learn more on the Android blog here and opt out here.
Google has announced upcoming improvements to its image tools in Google+. Through deep learning, Google will be able to automatically add thousands more keywords to make untagged images easier to find.
Auto-enhance has finer controls that can be applied on an album-by-album basis. New HDR Scape and Analog Efex Pro settings can be used to apply various camera effects to images.
Auto Awesome has new options to merge multiple photos of an object in motion into a single photo and automatically create a video with background track using selected videos and images. Google+ for iOS will also be updated soon to automatically upload full-resolution images.
Google is also expanding the availability of custom URLs in Google+. Users who have a profile photo, at least 10 followers and an account that is at least 30 days old can apply for a custom URL. Learn more on the Google+ website here.
Google has announced it is improving the quality of YouTube comments using Google+. Comments from the video creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in the user’s circles will moved to the top.
Video creators also have new comment moderation options to review comments before they are posted, block certain words and auto-approve comments by certain fans. Users can also make their YouTube comment visible only to a circle or a single person. Learn more on the YouTube blog here.
Google also previously announced that it is adding an offline videos feature. Video creators can choose whether users can download their videos onto a mobile device for 48 hours for offline viewing. Learn more on the YouTube Creator blog here.
There is also a new audio library available with 150 royalty-free tracks that can be played in the background of uploaded videos. Learn more on the YouTube Creator blog here and download the background tracks from YouTube here.
Google has added Snapseed photo editing tools to Google+ when accessed through its Chrome browser. There are now options to fine-tune the Auto Enhance tool and selectively adjust specific parts of images.
Images can also be framed and have a filter applied such as Vintage, Drame, Retrolux or Black and White. Learn more in the Google+ post here.
Google has announced Google+ author attribution and post embedding. Bloggers can now have their names automatically added to their Google+ posts listed in search results. To do this, bloggers must sign up for the Authorship program here.
They can then sign in to their Google account on the Settings > Sharing tab of their WordPress.com blog to automatically link their posts to their Google+ account. Learn more on the Google+ Developers blog here.
It is also now possible to embed a Google+ post on a website. To do this, click the down arrow in the top-right corner of the post, select Embed post, copy the code and then paste it into the website. Learn more on the Google Developers blog here.
Google has updated its Gmail app for iOS. The update displays larger image thumbnails of email attachments. Tapping a thumbnail displays a full screen viewing experience. The update also improves integration by opens Google Drive and Google+ links directly in the apps instead of the browser.
Using an iOS device? Download the update from the iTunes store here.
Google has updated its Google+ app for Android. The update improves account and page switching, adds full support for Google Apps for Business including public sharing, the ability to access files from Google Drive and new location controls.
The update also removes Messenger, but Hangouts is still there. Using an Android device? Download the update from Google Play here.
Google has announced it is highlighting some posts that friends have +1′d in users’ streams. This means any post that a user has +1′d may appear in their friends’ streams.
Only posts that friends already have permission to see will be highlighted. Users who don’t want their +1′d posts seen by their friends can change permissions on the settings page. Interested in learning more? See the Google+ post here.
Google has announced it is rolling out an update to its Hangouts messaging service over the next few days that enables users to make voice calls in Google+, Gmail and the Chrome extension.
Calls can now be made for free to the US and Canada from all countries that support Hangouts. International rates are very cheap compared to other providers.
The desktop calling experience has also been improved to allow multiple phone numbers and video participants in the same call and sound effects such as applause and laughter can be played. Interested in learning more? See the Gmail blog here.
Google has updated its Google+ plugins with a minimalist design that fits in better with the new Google+ design and other social plugins. Plugins include a Follow button that allows users to add a website to their circles without leaving the website and a badge plugin that allows users to follow a profile, page or community. Learn more on the Google blog here.
Google has also improved Google+ Photos based on user feedback. There are now options to move photos between albums and download selected photos. The uploading process has also been improved for large sets of photos. Learn more on the Google+ post here.