Google released of a slew of new social features this morning for its Google+ social network that incorporate strong, fun visual elements.
You can now use Google+ to see popular posts, watch crazy visualizations of post analytics and edit your photos.
The company even threw in some fun Halloween-themed photo-editing tricks. It’s (almost) enough to make me want to sign back up.
“We’re always working on making the product better every day,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat via email, “always listening to user feedback and improving Google+ with every new feature.”
The new feature for popular posts is called “What’s Hot,” a name that’s reminiscent of similar features for dissecting popular search terms from Google’s web search engine. The company calls G+’s “What’s Hot” section “a new place to visit for interesting and unexpected content.”
Perhaps more interesting for the visually oriented is Google+ Ripples, a new way to watch how posts travel across the company’s set of social features and through various user’s circles. You can view the “ripples” for any public post; this feature will show you all of that post’s activity. You can zoom in on specific events, check out top contributors and more.
Here’s a brief video explaining how Ripples work:
Finally, there’s photo editing. Leading with a Zoolander reference, Google senior VP Vic Gundotra wrote on the company blog that Google intends to help you make all your images “really, really, ridiculously good-looking.”
The photo features, collectively called Google+ Creative Kit, will let you perform simple, common tweaks such as cropping, sharpening and adding text. They will also let you apply the ever-more-popular filter effects to make photos feel vintage or show distorted colors. Blame Instagram and Hipstamatic, but social photo sharing is all about filters these days, and Google is wise not to ignore that trend.
Here’s another quick clip talking about the new Creative Kit features: