Google social Stories September 20, 2011

Google rolled out nine new features pertained to its social thing dubbed Google+. Per the official blog post by Google’s head of engineering Vic Gundotra, the service is no longer in limited beta. Beginning today, everyone can join the party at – no invitation required. Yes, Facebook’s worst nightmare comes true just three months following the service’s introduction.

Next up, Google’s search expertise comes to Google+. The big search box now returns relevant people, posts and web content. The popular Hangout feature has gotten lots of enhancements. For example, developers can now take advantage of the new Google+ Hangouts APIs to write more integrated, immersive apps. Google-created Hangout extras (still rough around the edges) include screensharing, sketchpad, Google Docs integration and named hangouts. Give it a try by clicking the “Try Hangouts with extras” link in the green room.

Even more interesting, it is now possible to broadcast a hangout for the world wide web to see. They call it Hangouts on Air and even though you can broadcast and record your session, there’s still that nagging nine-per-hangout limit. Of course, an unlimited number of people can be spectators of your live broadcast.

Another cool addition: You can join a hangout from your mobile phone, by finding an active hangout in the Stream of the Google+ app and tapping “Join”. This works on Android 2.3+ phones with front-facing cameras, but Google said iOS support is “coming soon”. The aforementioned features will be rolling out globally over the next day (not days, per usual), Google said.

Google released the Hangout API for developers as well.

Last,  but not the least, Dave Girouard, a Google Apps guy, announced on Twitter that Google+ is coming to business and education customers soon, indicating that Google+ will be rolled out to Google Apps users. “New stuff on G+ today that biz/edu will love! Working hard to bring G+ to Google Apps in the very near future!”, his tweet reads. In our opinion, this could be a game-changer in the social media landscape, probably putting Facebook on the defensive – especially when Google begins selling and promoting Google+ apps on the Apps Marketplace.

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Google social Stories August 24, 2011

Google today announced two new features for its +1 social button that web site owners can embed on their pages. Google’s senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra explained in a blog post that the +1 button (Chrome extension here) can now broadcast posts to your Google+ circles and do so with custom layouts. Previously, clicking the +1 button would only share web content with your contacts in their search results and on your Google Profile. Beginning today, you can choose the scope of sharing by clicking the +1 button and select the new “Share on Google+” option. You’ll be presented with options to choose a circle on Google+ to share with and write an optional comment.

Also new is the ability for publishers to customize a link, an image and a description (so-called +snippets”). Google writes over at the official Google Webmaster blog that “+Snippets let you put your best face forward by customizing exactly what appears when your content is shared”. An example includes Rotten Tomatoes, a popular movie review site where +1 posts include the movie title, poster and a brief synopsis (see the above screenshot). The new features will be rolling out over the next week so be patient. Another little nugget: The +1 button is today doing four billion daily views, twice as much it did back in July. The button is installed on more than a million web sites, which is not bad at all for yet another social button a little over two months old.

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Google social Stories July 22, 2011

Following founder Paul Allen’s estimate that Google+ amassed ten million accounts in just two weeks and the subsequent confirmation from Google, comScore is out today with fresh stats derived from cumulative unique visitor data from around the world. While the research firm did not attempt to estimate the number of unique user accounts, they found out that about 20 million unique visitors worldwide loaded Google+ pages as of July 19, just three weeks after the service debuted:

The evidence shows that Google+ is off to a strong start in its first few weeks with a global audience of 20 million visitors. It has clearly captured the attention of the technorati and as usage incubates among this crowd it will likely continue to proliferate to a more general audience. That number represents an increase of 82% from the previous week and 561% vs. two weeks prior. The U.S. audience recently surpassed 5 million visitors, up 81% from the previous week and 723% from two weeks earlier.

Their data is based on unique visitors and includes visits from both Google+ users and non-users who may have visited pages. Bear in mind that the numbers exclude visits from mobile devices and usage that occurs through the Google+ bar at the top of most Google pages. Google+ seems to be off to a great start everywhere, with 63 percent visits from abroad. The top five non-US markets include India with 2.8 million visitors, the UK (867,000 visitors), Canada (859,000 visitors) and Germany (706,000 visitors). More interesting data points right below the fold.

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Google social Stories July 14, 2011


[UPDATE July 14, 2011 10:08 Eastern]: The official, invite-only Photovine for iOS app has just landed in the App Store. We are expecting Android app shortly]

In anticipation of a smartphone app for the Photovine service which was announced Tuesday, Google posted this little teaser on the official Photovine page. Beginning today, people can also request an invite. You’re advised to hurry up because invitations for Google’s recently launched products have been  in high demand (Google+, anyone?). By the way, don’t you find it weird they would feature an iPhone 4 app on both the website and in the video clip rather than a Nexus S?

For those uninitiated, Photovine is Google’s attempt at social photo sharing that takes clues from Flickr, Facebook photos, Picasa and other services. “Photovine is a fun way to learn more about your friends, meet new people and share your world like never before”, says the official blurb. You begin creating a vine by taking a photo and creating a new caption.  Other people will see your vine and join in by adding their own photo, showing their own take on the caption. Google explains:

A vine is like a constantly growing family of photos connected through a common caption created by you, your friends, and people all over the world. Some examples of vines could be: “What Weekends Are Made Of”, “Secret Stuffed Animal”, “Party People”, or, “Love of My Life”. As people add photos to vines, they tell their own stories about the moments, images, and ideas that define our lives in a way that’s social, creative, and fun.

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Google social Stories July 13, 2011

If your Google+ profile is ever suspended for any reason, it won’t be the worst thing to happen because other services tied to your Google+ account could be rendered inaccessible as a result. As far as Google is concerned, Google Profiles and Google+ Profiles are the same thing and removing one for whatever reason will take down the other. If you intend on building your online identity on Google+, you should read the following guidelines carefully.

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Google+ is gaining momentum with each passing day but the search giant isn’t content with resting on its laurels. Google is aware that it’s facing an uphill battle if it wants to dethrone Facebook so they’re iterating and rolling out new features like crazy. Here’s a quick overview of the more notable enhancements coming soon to Google+.

Rohit Khare, who was added to Google social team following the Angstro acquisition in late 2010, announced that an address book uploader will be rolling out to everyone over the next few days. This will let you export your friends list from other social services in the standard CSV or vCard formats, without messing up your other Google Contacts.

By the way, bear in mind that the folks you put into your Circles are automatically added to your Google Contacts’ Other Contacts section. Previously this week, Engineering Manager for Gmail frontend Mark Striebeck mentioned “several Gmail/Google+ integrations” and he already arranged several Hangouts to discuss the topic. And you may have heard that Google+ features for businesses are coming, too.

Go past the break for more features and a couple of clips…

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Google social Stories July 12, 2011

In the two weeks since it launched, Google+ is closing in on its first major milestone, the ten millionth user. The news was published in a post by Paul Allen, the founder of (not related in any way to Microsoft’s co-founder and tech gossip books author). He wrote this morning:

My surname-based analysis shows that the number of Google+ users worldwide reached 7.3 million yesterday (July 10) – up from 1.7 million users on July 4th. That is a 350 percent increase in six days. The userbase is growing so quickly that it is challenging for me to keep up, since the number of users of any given surname (even the rare ones I am tracking) seems to be climbing every day. More impressive than last week’s growth is the astonishing growth in users from yesterday at mid-day to tonight — a 30% jump. My latest estimate tonight shows approximately 9.5 million users. This suggests that 2.2 million people have joined Google+ in the past 32-34 hours. I project that Google will easily pass 10 million users tomorrow and could reach 20 million user by this coming weekend if they keep the Invite Button available. As one G+ user put it, it is easy to underestimate the power of exponential growth.

Allen also found out that Google+ is especially popular overseas with one US user for every 2.12 non-US users, although that ratio is likely to change over time. If Google+ continues growing at this pace, the service could easily amass a hundred million users before the Fall, at which point Facebook might wanna hit the panic button.

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Google social Stories July 11, 2011

The ever growing circle of Google+ fans was hit by a glitch which caused the system issue a massive number of notification messages to some users. The servers basically were spamming some users inboxes because the search giant has ran out of disk space, the company’s social chief Vic Gundotra explained in a post on Google+ yesterday.

Please accept our apologies for the spam we caused this afternoon. For about 80 minutes we ran out of disk space on the service that keeps track of notifications. Hence our system continued to try sending notifications. Over, and over again. Yikes. We didn’t expect to hit these high thresholds so quickly, but we should have. Thank you for helping us during this field trial, and once again, we are very sorry for the spam.

It seems a bit strange that the company which operates massive data centers around the world would have any issues with disk space, but it is possible that Google+ engineers underestimated interest in the service which by some estimates already has five million users.

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Google social Stories July 4, 2011

[UPDATE 1, July 5, 2011  8:31 Eastern]: Facebook has blocked the Chrome extension for exporting friends  Author Mohamed Mansour wrote on the extension page that “Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove emails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. It will no longer work for many people. New version with a different design is currently deploying. You might have to do exports daily. It uses a different approach, and I will maintain this version. Just bear with me.”

Transferring your Facebook contacts to Google+ is a bit tricky because of, you know, the walled garden of Facebook which restricts how you can take your social graph elsewhere (unlike the Google Takeout service). Some workarounds tackle the issue, like the Friends to Gmail web app which will copy your Facebook contacts to Gmail. You can also pull a similar stunt via Yahoo Mail. Both solutions, however, require that you first copy Facebook friends to an online address book and then use this data to build your social graph on Google+.

A new Chrome extensions takes the pain out of this, allowing you to continue building your Facebook relationships on Google’s social service in one easy step. It’s called Facebook Friend Exporter and right now works only with the English version of Facebook and only via standard HTTP connection (SSL Facebook isn’t supported yet). What’s best…

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Google said in a tweet four hours ago that they have temporarily disabled  a dynamic stream of real-time content in people’s search results until they figure out how to bake this functionality into their latest social service dubbed Google+:

We’ve temporarily disabled We’re exploring how to incorporate Google+ into this functionality, so stay tuned.

Trying to access the web page produces a 404 page not found error. Google real-time was conceived two years ago as a way to enhance people’s search results with the latest news headlines, blog posts and updates from Flickr, Twitter, FriendFeed and other social sites. With the Google+ service the company has upped the ante in the social department so it makes sense to use Google+ to have one place to connect with your friends, share photos, links and other content as well as track updates from other social services across the web.

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Google social Stories July 1, 2011

Google+ is not yet available to the general public, but if first impressions from early adopters (read: journalists) are indicative of its potential, Google may have nailed the social thing this time. Google+ out-innovates Facebook on several aspects, including the integrated audio/video chat feature, fine-tuned sharing features, the ability to create ad-hoc networks and more. The hype and the headlines have not escaped the attention of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who figured he might as well join the damn thing and see why all the fuss.

Of course, it’s hard to establish authenticity of Zuckerberg’s alleged profile on the Google+ service, first outed by Forbes. Dana Brunetti, one of the producers of The Social Network movie, apparently added Mark Zuckerberg to his “People I did a Movie About” social circle on Google+. If it’s genuine, however, we’re giving Zuck a thumbs-up for having the guts to create a public profile on a rival network and the curiosity to explore the life beyond the walls of Facebook.

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Google social Stories June 30, 2011

By now you’ve probably figured out from our Google+ coverage that we here at 9to5Google are big fans of Google’s latest social thingie. There’s just one problem with this service: There’s no easy way to bring all your Facebook friends to Google+ because, you know, Facebook and Google are at odds with each other. Lifehacker comes to the rescue with this nifty workaround.

It involves authorizing Yahoo Mail to access your Facebook account via Facebook Connect and then transferring Facebook contacts to the Yahoo Mail Address Book. From there, you can easily import them into Google+. Alternatively, you can use the Friends to Gmail web app to bring along all your Facebook contacts to Gmail. Both solutions will transfers only contacts, not other Facebook data or your social graph you’ve been building on Zuckerberg’s social network. And should you ever want to take out your data from Google+ or any other Google property, you can use the new Google Takeout service. Zuck, you listening?

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