Google+ received some significant updates at Google I/O last week, many of which focused on a new and improved photo experience for users, and now the company is bringing that experience to its Android app. Just like the desktop version, Google+ for Android now includes auto highlight (for a selection of "top shots" from each gallery you upload), auto enhance, and auto awesome (which searches through your images to automatically build new creations like animations or panoramas). Given the major emphasis Google placed on these features last week, we're not at all surprised to see them show up in the Android app.
Google+ continues to push photos as its killer feature
Further photo enhancements come in the form of Snapseed integration — a number of its filters and adjustment tools are now built right into Google+, a logical choice after Google purchased the app last fall. Google's also including other features from the desktop version of its social layer, like the new auto-hashtagging feature. Google-added tags will appear on posts and users can tap through them to see other related content. There's also a nice refinement to location sharing — now, users can enable constant location sharing, and those that they choose to share their location with can see it any time they want. It sounds a lot like Find My Friends or other similar location-sharing services, and Google notes that it is completely optional and can be turned on and off at any time. The company didn't mention what specific technology backs this feature, but it sounds a lot like the somewhat-neglected Latitude location-sharing tools and API.
As for Hangouts, Google+ now includes a one-tap link to the Hangouts app, which it seems will eliminate the old Google+ messenger service built in to the app. All in all it sounds like a nice upgrade, and a logical one to push out to make it match all of the new features introduced last week. There's no word on when a comparable iOS version might be released — but Google teased this as the 42nd new update to the service after releasing 41 improvements at I/O, and ended its blog post by saying "stay tuned for 43." Whether or not this relates to Android 4.3, an iOS update, or something else entirely remains to be seen. Today's update should be live in Google Play soon, but it's not available just yet.