Recently, at the Google I/O 2013 conference, Google announced many exciting changes for various parts of its platform.
The bulk of the upgrades this year centered on Google+.
1. Change from one- to multi-column layouts by clicking on the More tab. Three-column layout exists but only for the largest of resolution displays. If you want to take a peek at it, just reduce your zoom on the page. The design is fully mobile responsive.
2. Shift+L will rapidly refresh the stream bringing you to the top and the new posts if you don’t want to click the button. There’s currently no way to return to auto-refreshing of the page.
3. Infographics will display in a nearly useful size at full length in the new layout. Estimated dimensions 503×930 for desktop viewing. An influx of infographic posts is likely. Keep an eye on ensuring readability.
4. Find an assortment of additional information related to each post by clicking on its “Shared Publicly” or “Shared Privately” link right under the authors name to flip the card over.
5. The “send feedback” form is located at the bottom of the menu under “home.” Can’t find feedback? Just type the “@” sign when not in a comment box to bring it up.
6. “What’s Hot” is back in the sidebar under home—and temporarily displaying strange gender biases. (It’s being fixed.)
7. A Hangout is now any form of group communication = Video Call or Group Chat or Group Calling, etc. This merges its many messaging and calling products.
8. Google has released a standalone Hangout app that replaces Google Chat and allows for text and video chat across Android, iOS, and Chrome.
9. In the right-hand hangout menu, the drop-down menu offers a number of useful options including a link to sign out of hangouts.
10. In the hangout app, the little green bar under someone’s photo indicates they are active and online.
11. To start a new hangout on air, you need to first visit the Hangout on Air page and then look halfway down the page on your right for a “Start A Hangout on Air” button that is not very visible.
12. YouTube expands its live-streaming feature to all channels with more than 1,000 subscribers. Learn more.
13. You can now send money through Gmail/Google.
14. When starting a new conversation, the status box loads up front and center with bright classic Google colors.
15. Circle volume control has moved to being under the settings gear in each circle’s page. Select More, Standard, or Fewer
16. Major improvements to many of the photo tools can be altered in your settings page. (Unfortunately, being able to edit an image as you upload it and before posting it has vanished.)
The auto enhance is really handy for on-the-fly image enhancing. The ability to upload high-resolution images is fantastic. Lots to love in these changes. (Including the ability to remove the download image button.)
17. Type these “cheat codes” into the chat of a Google Hangout, and watch what happens. So much fun—you’ve got to love Google Easter eggs. (Only works with Hangouts on Google+ and the Chrome Extension. Not in video calls or mobile.)
- /ponies (a pony running across chat)
- /pitchforks (an angry mob running across chat)
- /ponystream (ponies running across your local chat)
- /bikeshed (change the background color for everyone)
- /shydino (a shy little dino shows up)
- KONAMI cheat code (use your arrow keys, changes your local background)
18. Promotions—and dare I venture into saying advertising—will be coming soon to the Google+ newsfeed beginning with the new Offers feature. Link to Hello Kitty’s Offer.
19. Google Games is going away June 30 in favor of the new Google Play Games service.
A version of this article first appeared on JustAskKim.