And Then, Google+ boss Vic Gundotra leaves the company after 8 years for parts unknown

Google IO 2011 (Vic Gundotra in front of anti-Apple slide)Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra has announced that he is leaving the company today after eight years. Gundotra published a long explanation regarding his leaving on Google+, but he didn’t provide much info on what he’ll be doing next:

Today I’m announcing my departure from Google after almost 8 years…I have been incredibly fortunate to work with the amazing people of Google. I don’t believe there is a more talented and passionate collection of people anywhere else. And I’m overwhelmed when I think about the leadership of +Larry Page and what he empowered me to do while at Google. From starting Google I/O, to being responsible for all mobile applications, to creating Google+, none of this would have happened without Larry’s encouragement and support.

Google also provided a statement from CEO Larry Page to Recode who noted Vic was instrumental in building Google+, mobile apps, developer relations and more: “Vic built Google+ from nothing. There are few people with the courage and ability to start something like that and I am very grateful for all his hard work.” Read more

Google+ for Android updated with plenty of new photography enhancements

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Google’s had a busy Wednesday in terms of app updates so far, having just released the Google Experience launcher for all Nexus devices and Play Edition devices. Now, the company has released a substantial update for the Google+ Android app. The update includes the normal group of bug fixes we’ve all come to expect, but it also includes a plethora of new features for photographers.

First off, the app now offers the ability to start editing a photo on one device, and then continue the process on another Android device. There are also a handful of new filters and editing tools, many of which we’ve seen before from Snapsneed. There are also some interface tweaks, such as a new “View All” option, which displays your entire photo library, both local photos and cloud photos, in one central interface. Finally, the update also a new option to quickly view photos by the date they were taken.

The full change log via Googler Vic Gundotra is below:

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President Obama hosting ‘Road Trip’ Q&A via Google Hangouts on Friday, January 31st

Obama Hangout Road Trip

Next Friday, January 31st, President Obama will embark on a Presidential Hangout Road Trip promoting his State of the Union address to Congress and responding to questions submitted via Google+ and YouTube.

The Presidential Hangout Road Trip is actually a Google+ Hangouts session allowing the President to respond online to user submitted questions and topics he addressed in Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech.

YouTube will be live streaming both the SOTU address and the Republican response starting at 9pm EST next Tuesday. Check below for how to submit a question to the President during the Hangout Road Trip: Read more

Google+: Will it do for live video what YouTube did for recorded video?

steve-grove

By now it’ll come as absolutely no surprise that Google has gone all in on Google+, it’s clearly a major part of the company’s future roadmap. We know that with the evolution of every new feature on Google+, it’s one more step in the search engine giants plans to allow the don’t-call-it-a-social-service to dominate the social world.

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Google adds some Google+ cheer with your very own AutoAwesome “year in review”

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The Google+ AutoAwesome feature is one of the best features the search engine giant added to its “don’t call it a social” social network this year. Now, to make for a fitting end to 2013 Google is creating your very own “Year In Review.”

Google’s Vic Gundotra highlights that the creation of the video is dependent “on a lot of factors (the quality of your pictures, if our algorithms believe we can auto create a high quality movie for you, etc).” The videos will be rolling out to everyone over the next week but don’t be too upset if Google+ doesn’t believe it can’t create a video for you.

Google’s Lead Product Manager at Google Photos, Anil Sabharwal shared his very own video of 2013 and it’s quite cheerful:

#AutoAwesome storytelling

This time of year we reconnect with loved ones, and we reflect on the moments that really matter. Photos and videos help preserve these moments, and when you save them to Google+,#AutoAwesome can bring your story to life in meaningful, magical ways. #AutoAwesome can, for example:

- Transform a game of dress-up into a delightful animation (http://goo.gl/aJzYUj), or
– Create a highlight reel for a recent family wedding (http://goo.gl/Th3wE0), or
– Display an entire cliff diving sequence in a single image (http://goo.gl/b6weQ6), or
– Add falling snow to your favorite winter photograph (http://goo.gl/9gdPrC)

In all cases these gifted items appear in your account automatically, so as long as you’re backing things up to Google+, you’ll get notified whenever an awesome (and private) version is ready to share.

Of course: many people have been saving and sharing their photos and videos on Google+ all year long. And for those select users we’ve got one more holiday gift: an #AutoAwesome year in review(I’ve attached mine as an example). You’ll get notified in the next week or so if you have one of these movies waiting for you.

Most importantly we want to say thank you. It’s your support and enthusiasm that make Google+ so special. And we’ll keep working to help you tell your story. #googleplusupdate #year2013

White House hosts holiday special through Google+ Hangout

There’s little question the White House is one of the most familiar buildings the world over and they always go the extra mile decorating for the holiday season. That’s why it’s so notable that the White House just held a streaming Google+ Hangout to show off some of the decor that has the White House looking all festive for the first family and tourists alike.

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Google adds shake feature to Google+ for Android, adds snow to your photos

Google’s Vic Gundotra just announced a bunch of updates for Google+ for Android, including shaking your Android device to add some snow to your photos. Similar to last weeks addition of the snowy autoawesome feature, all you have to do is open your photo, shake your device and snow will start falling. It’s a gimmicky but nifty feature and one we’ve come to expect from Google in years past.

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Google Drive updated for iOS, adds sorting feature for files

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Chalk up another Google Drive update for iOS as Google just announced a new sorting feature for files. Google’s iOS version of Google Drive has received quite a few updates in recent months to bring it in line with its Android counterpart. The new sorting feature should prove useful to just about every Google Drive user as it’s a much-needed and important feature.

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Google+ becomes new testbed for brands to ‘start conversations across the web’

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Google Product manager Eran Arkin just made a quiet but perhaps major announcement in how Google+ will handle brands and social ads moving forward. Google will begin testing a new type of monetization for Google+ called +Post ads. In simple terms, Google will let brands turn their Google+ content into display ads across the web.

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