The rebranding will focus on two popular features
Google's largely-failed social media experiment, Google+, is reportedly approaching a transformation, with a renewed focus on Photos and Hangouts. The two popular features appear to be splitting apart from the central service, marking the first step in an apparent rebranding effort that is likely aimed at revitalizing -- or quietly killing -- the stagnate social network.
Google+ Hangouts to gain SMS integration, outbound calls, Google Voice
The new Google+ Hangouts app will soon have SMS integration, though this is likely to be only within Android. The Next Web notes that the permissions list for the app includes listings for reading and sending SMS messages from within the app, something which would bring Hangouts in line with Apple's iMessage app. A message by Google employee Dori Storibeck confirmed that SMS integration is on the way, along with outbound calls and Google Voice features.
Hangouts conversations to carry between iOS, Android, Web
Google has shown a significant number of changes to Google+ at its Google I/O developer event, as part of its attempts to attract users. The redesign of the social network is accompanied by the rumored unified messaging system, branded Hangouts, and the automatic enhancement, editing and highlighting of photographs uploaded onto its service.
Refined single-participant live video broadcasting in Google+
Google has updated the Hangouts feature of Google+ that will help one-person broadcasts. Hangouts On Air will now default to a full-screen single-camera video for broadcasts, instead of showing a large image with a smaller thumbnailed view in the camera roster below, something which apparently has been added after numerous requests from users.
Google+ gets new Android, iOS apps today
Google today unleashed a slew of new features for its social networking project, Google+, Beginning today, Google is rolling out new versions of both its Android and iOS Google+ apps, bringing Google+ Communities to the apps, as well as the ability to edit profiles and indicate how many guests one will bring to an event. Users can also add animated images to events in posts and, if they have a device running Android 4.2 or above, they can create Photo Sphere images, while users running Android 3.0 or above can view and explore Photo Sphere images.
Users forced to use social network accounts as identification
Google is forcing users of its Play Store to reveal their identities, in what appears to be a move to force more accountability in application reviews found on the service. The change in policy sees Google adding Google+ integration to the review system, permanently linking a review to the social network account.
Companies, celebrities get shorter Google+ addresses
Google is rolling out vanity URLs to profiles on its social network. In a move similar to Facebook's Username system, Google+ will supply memorable customized addresses to a small number of verified profiles and accounts, with businesses such as Toyota, Delta Airlines and Britney Spears shortening their profile URLs by a considerable amount.
Facebook keeps massive lead despite losing traffic
Google+ has 60-percent more unique visitors than nine months ago, according to traffic analytics company ComScore. Public Relations consultant Morten Myrstad shared the figures through the social network, estimating Google+ to have received over 110 million unique international visitors in June, compared to 66.7 million last November, with US traffic increasing from 15.2 million to 27.7 million in the same period.
Ahead of Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest
Google's social network hits 250 million users
At today's Google I/O conference, the company announced that its social network, Google+, will be getting a dedicated app for the iPad and other tablets. The app is being designed specifically for the tablet experience. People will be able to attend video hangouts and interact with the social network in the same way now possible on desktops. The app will also contain the new Google+ Events feature, which enables live streaming of images captured by attendees at events.
Google Plus now public with mobile video streams
Google+ received a shot in the arm Tuesday as Google took it out of its invite-only phase to make it public and push into mobile. The newly opened-up social network now includes video chat Hangouts on phones: any active Hangout works in the same drop-in, drop-out approach as it does on the web with several at a time. Support already exists in the Android app (Android Market) and is coming soon for the iPhone app (App Store).
Google Propeller curates news on multiple tablets
Google is crafting its own alternative to Flipboard, Zite, and other curated news apps for tablets, tipsters divulged Thursday. Nicknamed Propeller, details are vague but would make it a rare cross-platform app, serving both Android and iPad users. Not much is known about what it does from AllThingsD's source, but Rackspace's Robert Scoble understood that it's "mind-blowing good."
Update also includes fixes, Huddle settings
Google has released an updated iOS app for Google+, its fledgling social network. The most critical addition is support for the iPad and iPod touch; previously, the device would run only on iPhones. The app does not as yet have a native iPad interface, in spite of the extended compatibility.
Google Plus now live for iPhone too
Google has slightly belatedly put out its anticipated Google+ app (free, App Store). The app provides sharing both publicly and within Circles and updates from others. Huddle messaging is also built-in and, unlike on Android, doesn't break out a separate app for the live chat feature.
Could indicate resistance from Apple
Skype and Google are refusing to comment on the status of new but significantly delayed iOS apps, statements from spokespeople show. Google revealed that it had submitted a Google+ app to Apple at least two weeks ago, but the title has yet to appear on the App Store despite the marketing and momentum attached to the social network. The launch of a Skype iPad app was anticipated on June 28th, following months of testing, but is also missing in action.
Google+ on NFC phones has tag reading capability
The Google+ social service that's now available as an Android app was found to enable sharing and reading NFC tags in phones that support it, PocketNow reported. The functionality is only available to those in the Google+ field test and who are running Android 2.3.4, as it has built-in NFC support. These users can share the text from scanned NFC tags with people in their Google+ circles thus far.
Product names to focus on Google brand
Google is reportedly planning to rebrand its Blogger and Picasa products as part of a broader strategy to reinforce Google Plus. The company is said to be renaming Blogger as "Google Blogs," while Picasa will allegedly become "Google Photos," unnamed sources have told Mashable. Most of Google's other properties, such as YouTube, will reportedly maintain existing branding.
Timing and shape of return is unclear
Google has suddenly and quietly stopped its Realtime Search service. The move comes after the two-year contract with Twitter, the primary content provider for this particular search engine, expired. There is no indication if a new arrangement is under discussion at this time.
Google says Plus app for iOS imminent
Google TV developer Erica Joy used Google+ to confirm that the social network's upcoming iOS app has been sent to Apple for approval. The app should be in the App Store soon and should be universal to accommodate the iPad alongside iPhone and iPod owners. iOS users currently have to depend on an optimized web app that doesn't allow some important Google+ features, such as Instant Upload photos or Huddle chat.
Facebook to have Skype chat with desktop element
Insiders leaked Friday that Facebook's "awesome" new product will be video chat. The service should be built on Skype and, though presumed to be mobile, will work in browser as well. Whether it needs separate Skype software or will be entirely self-contained wasn't evident from TechCrunch's early details.
Lets people know the where as well as what
Earlier this week, Google unveiled Google+ for both computers and mobile devices. Having previously touted many of the tools it integrated into the social networking service, such as Circles, Hangouts, and video chats, it has also without mention included check-ins. On the new service, the addition will let people in a Circle know where they are as well as what they are doing.
New layouts now available to preview
Google has introduced redesigned interfaces for its web-based Gmail and Calendar utilities. The revamped layouts, which are currently available for users to preview, offer a modernized appearance with functional improvements alongside aesthetic tweaks. The Gmail interface brings a red, black and white color scheme, closely resembling the new Google Plus presentation.
Search giant expected to expand capabilities
Google may already be preparing to expand the range of features offered through Google Plus. Snippets of source code from the social network offer clear references to two new services: Google+ Games and Google+ Qestions. The presence of gaming code corroborates a number of earlier leaks and speculation surrounding job postings, both suggesting the search giant has been quietly working to build its own web-based gaming platform.
Anyone with an e-mail address can be invited
(Update: temporarily shut down) Google is now allowing early adopters of its Google+ social network to invite others, via an icon on the bottom right of the main Google+ screen. Users can add anyone with an e-mail address to their Circles and share content with them, which includes an automatic invitation to join the service.
Initially supports five Google online products
Google has released a new service to make data portability easier than the normally step-by-step process it has involved in the past. Takeout simultaneously downloads data from multiple Google services in one swoop. Its initial release will support five apps, with more to follow.
Google uses Apple vet Hertzfeld, optimizes design
The much more visual interface of Google+ is owed to the company hiring on one of Apple's earliest software designers, an inside look at the social service's creation has revealed. Andy Hertzfeld, best known for designing core parts of the original Mac interface and a Google staffer since 2005, is the leader of design for the entire team. His influence is likely seen most in the drag-and-drop interface of Circles and other elements that shed Google's usual text-heavy layout.