Google+ Hangouts and Photos get major overhaul, vanity URLs arrive

Tuesday was a very busy day for Google. The company added 18 new features to its social network.

Hangouts

  • Support for location sharing, SMS, and GIFs (Hangouts for Android).
  • Hangouts On Air can now be scheduled / promoted with a dedicated landing page, and moderated via the new Control Room.
  • Full screen experience and webcam lighting enhanced automatically (all devices).

Photos

  • Better search functionality that recognizes more than 1,000 terms
  • Ability to dial Auto Enhance up or down
  • New HDR Scape filter in Snapseed
  • Analog Efex Pro added to the Nik Collection
  • Upcoming full-size backups and background sync (Google+ for iOS).

Auto Awesome has also received three more features:

  • Action creates a single strobe-effect image from a series of photographs of an object in motion.
  • Eraser removes all moving elements from a series pictures for cleaner results.
  • Movie automatically builds a highlight reel of photos and videos, complete with transitions and soundtrack.

Google+: new stats

  • 20 new updates since July 2013.
  • 540 million active users (300 million in stream)
  • 1.5 billion photos uploaded weekly

Vanity URLs now available for profiles and pages!

Vanity URL Google+

Google+ users had been asking for custom URLs since the beginning. Google has finally complied!

With that said, only a limited number of users can claim theirs right now. According to the official page, here are the requirements.

  • Profiles must be at least 30 days old, have a minimum of 10 followers, and sport a profile picture.
  • Local Google+ pages must be verified. 
  • Non-local G+ pages must be linked to a website.

If you are eligible, you will receive an email or see a notification at the top of your G+ page or profile. Click the “Get a custom URL” button, then follow instructions.

Google may ask you to verify your account. If so, a box will pop up asking you to enter your mobile phone number. Just type in the code sent to you and click “Verify”.

Note that once your custom URL has been approved, you will not be able to change it. However, you can edit its capitalization or accents / diacritics. Here are the steps:

  • Visit your “About” tab.
  • Scroll down to the “Links” section and click “Edit” at the bottom.
  • A box will appear allowing you to make edits to the formatting.

Custom URLs are free for now, but we may start charging a fee for them. However, we will tell you before we start charging and give you the choice to stop participating first.

For more information on custom URLs, visit https://support.google.com/plus/answer/2676340?hl=en&topic=2400106.

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