updated 01:30 pm EDT, Tue October 29, 2013
Social network brings slew of new features
Google has invited media to San Francisco to highlight a slew of new features that are headed to the company's social network. Many of the Google+ updates focus on photography, expanding manual and automatic enhancement tools, along with new effects for saved videos or live Hangouts feeds.
The Hangouts feature now provides direct SMS integration, which aims to mitigate discontinuity between traditional text messages and social-network communications. Users can also take advantage of new tools to create their own GIFs and share their location.
The Auto Awesome automatic enhancement and editing tools now support video, though most of the new features focus on still photography. Google boasts of top-notch HDR processing from single stills, improvements to automatic best-shot selection and photo organization, and a new tool to remove moving objects from multiple shots to isolate portrait subjects.
Many of the video-specific tools are also aimed at simplifying editing, automatically building highlight reels from several clips and enabling users to quickly add audio. The system attempts to figure out how to cut the clips and background tracks to fit a desired video length.
The new features will soon be headed to the Google+ utilities for desktop browsers and mobile platforms.