It may not seem like it, but it's been less than 90 days since Google+ was introduced to the world. Since then, we've seen many great features that have made Google+ one of the most attractive social networks around. Today, we've received even better news: major improvements and feature updates that are truly innovative.
- You can hangout on your mobile phone. They're available for phones with front-facing cameras and Android 2.3 and up. (iOS users, don't fret - support is on the way.) To find a hangout on your phone, go through your Stream and click on "Join hangout" to participate in the hangout.
- You can now broadcast and record your hangout session, called "Hangouts on Air". This is being rolled out to a select group of people for testing. There's a hint of a special broadcast on September 21st, as +Vic Gundotra invites you to +will.i.am's profile, which is not filled out yet.
- You can have fun with Google+ hangouts by simultaneously using other Google programs while running a hangout. Some of the fun stuff you can do includes using Sketchpad to draw or create with others, Google Docs for collaborating on the next great novel, and screensharing, for when you want to show off something you're working on. You can also name your public hangouts, to signal to and invite the public to join you in a discussion or lesson of your choice. To test out these new features, start a hangout and click on "Try hangouts with extras".
- The Google+ Hangouts API is now available for developers to use.
If you have Google+ installed on your phone, you should update your Google+ app immediately to take advantage of the latest features. (iOS users, you'll have to wait!) They include the ability to update your Google+ profile photo, customize your notifications, and move the Google+ app to your SD card to make more room for storage on your phone.
The name of the Google+ instant group messaging feature has been changed from Huddle to Messenger, and along with it, you'll also be able to share photos with your Google+ circles.
This one core feature has been the number one item on my wishlist, and it's finally here! The search bar at the top, which was originally used to search for Google+ profiles, is now a general search for anything in Google+. Your results will default to "everything", but you can further refine the search by limiting it to Google+ profiles, public Google+ posts, or Sparks. You can sort the Google+ posts by "Best of", or "Most Recent" (though it's not clear what criteria is being used for "best of". You can also click on "Save this search", and it'll get saved to your Sparks pins, so that you can go ahead and search for the same term again.
I'm grateful for many of these new feature updates, and some of them were completely unexpected. Have you tested out these new features yet? Are there other Google+ features you're still waiting for?