Google+ Updates: Tablet Optimization, Events, and History API
By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal
Google announced several updates for its Google+ social network at its Google I/O keynote on Wednesday. These updates include tablet optimization, events support with Google Calendar integration, and general performance boosts to the Google+ apps.
VentureBeat has uncovered the Google+ History API, and it looks like Google will also be adding Facebook Timeline-like history support to its network, soon.
Here’s a quick look at what’s new.
Optimized for Tablets
Google has optimized its Google+ app (v. 3.0) for tablets, including Android tablets and Apple’s iPad. The new Google+ app will look better on tablet-sized screens, and is optimized for the third generation iPad’s retina screen. According to a Google blog post on the matter, the tablet app will also have a “beautiful stream that styles content based on popularity, type, and organization,” and a “‘lean back’ Hangouts experience that’s great for the couch or common room.”
Google+ Events with Party Mode
Google+ Events are sort of like Facebook Events meets Evite. Google now lets users create events, such as birthday parties, barbeques, and get-togethers, and invite their Google+ friends to said events. What makes Google+ Events different from Facebook Events is that Google lets users personalize invitations with themes, animations, and video greetings from YouTube. Google+ Events are automatically added to users’ Google calendars.
Google+ Events also has a “Party Mode,” which lets people share photos and videos during the event. Here’s what happens — when the event starts, you’ll get a notice asking if you want to turn on Party Mode. If you turn Party Mode on, any photos or videos you take will automatically be shared on the event page. This is sort of like Google+’s Instant Upload feature, which, if turned on, automatically uploads photos to Google+’s servers. Unlike Instant Upload, however, Party Mode doesn’t just upload photos — it also shares them with everyone at the, well, party.
Once the party/event is over, Google+ will also send out notices to everyone who attended, reminding them to share photos and videos of the event with the group.
Google+ History API
It looks like Google+ is poised to take on Facebook’s Timeline feature with its History API. According to VentureBeat, Google+ History will let users post past statuses, updates, and pictures from other social networks to their Google+ feed. These posts will be displayed in tiles called “moments,” which are similar to Facebook Timeline’s Life Events…though perhaps not as “important.”
According to VentureBeat, this is a way for users to beef up Google+ profiles with past content from other social networks, such as Foursquare and Twitter. “Beefing up,” as such, will give a better overall snapshot of any user — in other words, a lot like Facebook Timeline.
The updated Android app is available now, for Android phones and tablets alike. The new retina display-optimized iPad app will be available soon.