social Stories March 24, 2017

In recent weeks, Google has launched a number of social apps through its Area 120 incubator. However, the company is also working on a first party social app that lets small groups edit pictures together with the help of computer vision.

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social Stories January 25, 2016

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Over the weekend, Google announced changes to Play Games permissions that are mostly meant for developers, but regular users who game on Android will also see a benefit. Players no longer need their Google accounts upgraded to Google+ to use Play Games and can now automatically be signed-in with a standard Google account.

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social Stories January 15, 2016

Inbox by Gmail adds Photos-integreated attachment picker, posts can be pinned to Google+ Profile

Google has been sprucing up their web apps this week as the first new updates of 2016 start to trickle in. Inbox by Gmail on the web adds a super convenient photo and attachment picker, while Google Plus now allows users to pin posts to their profiles.

social Stories October 14, 2015

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Image: Forbes

As unsurprising as it may be, an early Twitter investor came out several months to say that Google still doesn’t understand social and should buy struggling Twitter. And while that hasn’t quite happened (and we don’t really have any hard evidence that it will), it appears that ties between the two companies are strengthening. Twitter’s once-again-CEO Jack Dorsey has today announced that Google’s previous chief business officer Omid Kordestani has been appointed as the social network’s executive chairman. expand full story

social Stories October 8, 2015

Facebook experimenting with letting friends easily send “Happy Birthday!” videos on mobile

One of the many things Facebook does well is make it nearly impossible to miss when one of your friends turns another year older. On the web, birthday reminders are placed prominently near the top right with links to easily wish your pal a happy birthday, and on mobile Facebook has experimented with alerts and other ways to help you not forget someone’s big day.

Now Facebook appears to be testing an even more personal way to make your birthday wish stand out: video messages. The Next Web reports that some mobile users have seen a new ‘birthday video’ option appear under Facebook’s Birthdays section (although don’t worry if you don’t see it yet, I don’t have it either).

social Stories September 3, 2015

Skype 6 Android 16-9

It was only a month ago that Skype for Android was hit with a slight visual refresh, and today Microsoft is pushing out a much bigger redesign to the messaging app that it says was inspired by Google’s Material design. Skype 6.0 for Android replaces the custom action bar along the bottom of the app with a new floating action button that should be familiar to other modern Android apps. The action button ties in shortcuts to video messages, video calls, voice calls, and conversation chats. expand full story

social Stories August 4, 2015

Viber Android app updated with easier video calling, rich links, lower data usage & more

Viber has updated its Android app to add a range of improvements based on user requests, says the company. Version 5.5 allows you to start a video call directly from your recent calls list, rich links now display content previews when links are posted into text chats – and Viber says more efficient data compression has allowed it to improve the quality of both audio and video calls while reducing data usage.

Users can also now share contacts within both one-to-one and group chats, and invite an entire group to follow a public chat.

Viber is a free download from Google Play.

social Stories July 27, 2015

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The great unraveling of Google+ as a fiber connecting all of Google’s products continues. Who’s disbanding this time? Well, basically all of the Google ecosystem.

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social Stories July 22, 2015

Skype for Android updated with visual refresh & improved chat experience

Microsoft has released an updated version of Skype for Android today that delivers both a visual refresh to several parts of the app as well as performance improvements throughout.

social Stories March 1, 2015

david-besbris

TechCrunch:

…confirmed with Google, that David Besbris [above] has left his role as the head of the company’s social and identity product. He has been replaced by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime VP of product for Google+.

Google Plus seems to be in tumult and it sounds like it is being dismantled for its good parts including Photos and Hangouts. Perhaps the feed will turn into a more Twitter-like product. Who knows at this point—we’ll likely get a roadmap at Google I/O in May.

As for new lead Bradley Horowitz, he never really left Google+ through Vic Gundotra’s departure and will probably oversee the split of the units which are said to have already been reduced by half.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 03.29.24

social Stories December 3, 2014

Google+ adds ability to pin posts to profiles and pages

While Google+ may not always get the attention it deserves, Google this evening has announced a useful new feature for its users. In a post on the social network, Google employee Dennis Troper announced that users can now pin posts to the top of their profiles and pages.

social Stories October 27, 2014

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Facebook has announced that it will be releasing an updated version of its mobile application later today that will improve the process of sharing multiple photos in a single post. The new composer will allow users to choose multiple images from their device’s photo library or camera, then show a preview of the post with each image in the order they were selected.

From here users will be able to add captions to each photo, write an introduction for the post, or rearrange the order of the photos. The post will show up in friends’ news feeds as a photo collage rather than a horizontal group of photos.

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social Stories October 7, 2014

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Re/code has posted an interview with Google’s ‘new’ head of social at the company, David Besbris, after taking over from Vic Gundotra. The interview ranges in scope, but most notably it opens with a direct question about the future of Google+ with many rumors circulating that Google intends to kill off the ‘failure’.

Unsurprisingly, Besbris denies the claims and says that Google made a long-term bet. It has no intentions to drop Google+ from its offerings.

Is Google+ going away anytime soon?

We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it. The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.

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social Stories September 25, 2014

PSA: Google is investigating an issue with Google Drive sharing

Google is investigating an issue for a number of Google Drive users this morning after rolling out an updated UI for the service earlier this year. Google confirmed the problem on its app status website noting that users on the old Google Drive interface are unable to share documents externally.

Google is marking the issue as a service disruption, which means you should still be able to access all of the service’s other features while it looks for a fix. While the new user interface is being rolled out to users already, users still on the old UI have the ability to manually opt-in to the updated Google Drive.

social Stories July 29, 2014

Earlier this month, Microsoft-owned Skype rolled out a group video calling feature to Windows tablets. The free video calling allows for calls with up to ten people, and integrates with Skype on the desktop, which has supported group video calling since April.

Today, Skype tells us that the group video calling feature will be coming to all of its mobile platforms in the future:

We’re excited about Skype group video calling and are working to bring it to more of our platforms. In the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost

Unfortunately, the company could not yet provide a more specific rollout timeframe. Skype has been rapidly releasing new products over the past several months, with a major redesign of the Skype iPhone app arriving a couple of months ago.

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social Stories June 17, 2014

 

As we reported last night, Facebook’s new Slingshot app is now available for iPhone. The app briefly appeared on the App Store last week but was quickly removed. Slingshot is Facebook’s attempt at competing with the popular Snapchat messaging service.

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social Stories April 28, 2014

Popular ‘Secret’ app expands into new markets ahead of Android launch

Secret, an anonymous microblogging service that’s grown in popularity in recent months on iOS, is today announcing a global expansion alongside confirmation of an upcoming launch on Android (via TechCrunch):

Secret’s first moves outside of the U.S. will be to several English-speaking countries – namely the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, the Android launch also is still coming up but there are plenty of hints that it’s also imminent — or in the words of Chrys Bader-Wechseler, who co-founded the startup with David Byttow, Android is “well along and on the way.”

The company isn’t sharing many details on how many users it’s picked up so far, but it did note that a common misconception of the service is that it’s mostly being used by Silicon Valley insiders: “I think that one of the misconceptions is that Secret is only about Silicon Valley, but your stream is generally representative of your address book. We see secrets from all over,” Bader-Wechseler tells me. “People talk about their lives and things that are specific to the human condition.”

“We see about 75% of people who have friends on the network will come back every week,” he says. “If they participate in a conversation, 90% will come back.” Those who are returning do so a lot, opening the app between eight and 10 times each day. “You see people on the app all day basically, an interesting and a good sign.”

No word on exactly when you can expect to see the Android version, but we imagine the news will likely break first as an anonymous status on the Secret app.

social Stories April 2, 2014

Google might be preparing to release a new Gmail app for at least Android devices that will introduce a few new notable features.

Geek.com got its hands on the screenshots above that is apparently a version of Gmail for Android that Google is currently testing. It includes new Travel, Purchases, and Finance categories in addition to the Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums categories currently available. Also present is a pinning feature for making emails of your choosing remain at the top of your inbox as well as a “snoozing” feature that allows you to delay an email for a set amount of time much like hitting snooze on your alarm clock. Within a slightly tweaked UI you’ll also notice a new toggle at the top of your inbox that allows you to switch between showing pinned emails and haven them return to chronological order.

There’s always a chance the features above will never make it out of testing, but there’s also a possibility Google could be planning to roll them out to users in a future update. As always, we’ll keep you updated as we learn more.  expand full story

social Stories March 26, 2014

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Twitter has announced a few new features for its Android app today. Users with the latest update to the Twitter for Android app will soon see the ability to select up to four photos at a time to upload when composing a tweet. These photos will be displayed as a collage on the tweet’s detail screen.

Along with the multi-photo support, users are also now able to tag other people in their photos. A new “who’s in these photos?” button allows you to add the username of other people in the picture. Photo tags won’t take up any characters in the body of the tweet, so the full character count will be available for composing a message.

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social Stories March 11, 2014

Instagram for Android now twice as fast and half the size with refreshed design

Instagram announced today it that it has not only refreshed the design of its Android app, but that it has cut the overall size of the app in half while making the profile screen load twice as fast. According to Instagram, the new design makes more considerations for how it presents photos with devices with smaller screens in mind as well as button placement with larger displays in mind.

Instagram 5.1 is available today on the Google Play Store.

social Stories January 9, 2014

PSA: Snapchat users can now opt out of phone number/username linking following API abuse

Following recent API abuse that lead to phone numbers and usernames being exposed, Snapchat, the social photo sharing app, has updated its Android app with the option to opt out of linking your phone number with your username. The feature was intended to increase social discoverability among mutual contacts, but was recently abused leading to the following update and apology:

Find Friends Improvements

This morning we released a Snapchat update for Android and iOS that improves Find Friends functionality and allows Snapchatters to opt-out of linking their phone number with their username. This option is available in Settings > Mobile #.

This update also requires new Snapchatters to verify their phone number before using the Find Friends service.

Our team continues to make improvements to the Snapchat service to prevent future attempts to abuse our API. We are sorry for any problems this issue may have caused you and we really appreciate your patience and support.

Love,

Team Snapchat

The update is available now on for Android users on the Google Play Store.

social Stories May 24, 2013

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The image above is being passed around by an anonymous tipster this evening that claims to have screenshots alongside some new information about an upcoming version of Gmail for both the web and mobile devices.

According to the tipster, the update Gmail for web will have new Category tabs that organize emails into separate inboxes based on the content within (as pictured above). Examples given include Main (for family, friends and everything that doesn’t belong in another category), ‘Social’ for emails related to social networks, ‘Offers’ for promotional material, ‘Notifications’ for reservations, bills, etc, and ‘Forums’ for mailing lists and forums.

We have no way of verifying the legitimacy of the tip, but it’s an interesting concept nonetheless and it will apparently also be hitting the new Gmail mobile apps when it begins rolling out this Wednesday… expand full story

social Stories May 16, 2013

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Google announced its new cross-platform messaging service called Hangouts at Google I/O yesterday, which prompted many users to wonder if Google had plans to bring SMS and messaging unification to the Hangouts inbox.

Droid Life points us to comments by Dori Storbeck, who manages the Hangouts and Chat Google+ community, which confirm integration with SMS is highly requested and coming soon.

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We expect SMS integration will only be available on Android as iOS doesn’t allow the necessary hooks to pull off the feature, which makes the platform that much more appealing for fans of the Hangouts service.

Hangouts launched on the Play Store for Android and App Store for iOS yesterday, as well as Google+ or Gmail on the desktop. expand full story

social Stories May 7, 2013

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Google has updated Google+ today with a couple notable and highly requested new features for Hangouts on Air users. The first big new feature is the ability to rewind live broadcasts, allowing users to navigate back to the beginning of a broadcast regardless of when they started watching. Other improvements include higher quality video for those joining Hangouts on Air from a mobile device, as well new auto-playing broadcasts that don’t require users to refresh the page when aHangout starts.

Google did note that “it may take longer to set up your Hangout On Air. For example: the ‘Start broadcasting’ button may be grayed out for a bit, before it turns red.” That change is to provide users with enough time to get everything in place before starting the Hangout.

Google appears to have been able to implement the changes by now processing the video in real-time rather than after the fact, which also means it’s promising Hangouts will be instantly uploaded and ready to watch on YouTube the second you go off air: expand full story

social Stories November 29, 2012

Google+ VP of Product lambasts Facebook’s ad strategy, says ‘social recommendations’ are more useful (Video)

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Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz sat down with Business Insider at its Ignition conference today to discuss Google+ numbers and diss Facebook’s latest ad scheme.

The numbers haven’t changed (400 million registered users, with 100 million visitors coming back at least once a month), but the most interesting tidbit from Horowitz concerns his opinion on Facebook integrating ads into the news feed.

According to BusinessInsider:

He used the metaphor of a guy with a sandwich board running in between an intimate conversation between a man and his daughter, an obvious allusion to the ads and promoted brands you see in your Facebook news feed.

Instead, Horowitz said it’s much more useful (and less annoying) to users to show social recommendations instead of ads. For example, if you search for a product in Google –– say a microwave –– you can see which one your Google+ contacts recommend.

Watch the interview with Horowitz above.

social Stories January 26, 2012

Google’s social network Google+ is now open for teenagers, according to Google’s Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz’s announcement in a post today. Everyone who is old enough for a Google Account (13-years-old and up in most countries) can now sign up for Google+. The executive boasted the many security and privacy features of Google+ that help establish the difference between friends, acquaintances and strangers— a must for underage users.

Between strong user protections and teen-focused content, it’s our hope that young adults will feel at home (and have some fun) on Google+. And of course, we do have at least one thing in common with our newest users: we’re both busy growing up.

The Google+ service, he argued, has “awesome features that teens really want” whilst encouraging safe behavior “through appropriate defaults and in-product help.” In addition, abuse-reporting tools are easy to find and use, Horowitz noted. Details on age requirements on Google Accounts are available here. Teens can also get more information on Google+ safety features in the newly launched Google+ Safety Center, with interesting resources available for educators, teenagers and parents.

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social Stories January 24, 2012

Google is adamant on accelerating work on its Google+ social network. By doing so, the company has already stepped on people’s toes. An upcoming Q&A feature from Google does not seem to be aimed squarely at Quora, a popular question-and-answer website, but the Quora people understandably cann0t be too happy about this development. See, according to VentureBeat, the search company is trying out a new capability called “Ask on Google+” allowing you to ask friends about the topics you are searching for. It is akin to Facebook Questions, with one huge advantage: One accesses it easily at the bottom of one’s search results:

Click the link to ask your friends any question related to restaurants, movies, how to make friends on Google+, or other topics. Your question will automatically be posted to your Google+ stream for your friends to answer.

Granted, it is nowhere near as complete as Quora and it lacks the basic component, a Q&A engine. In its current implementation, asking stuff on Google+ from your search results simply puts up an overlay window with a pre-populated Google+ post related to your search query. For example, if I were searching for “2012 Android smartphones,” clicking the “Ask on Google+” link would create the “Hi there! I have a question about 2012 Android smartphones…” message. You can edit the message, select your audience, or add a location, photo, video or URL. The folks with whom you shared the message will not be able to select from custom choices like with Facebook Answers. Still, it certainly does not mean crowd-sourcing answers from your Google+ friends will not take some allure off Quora and similar services— quite the contrary.

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social Stories September 20, 2011

No, we did not photoshop that arrow in. In an effort to push Google Plus, which just went into public beta today, Google is now literally pointing to the Plus link with an arrow. Also, below the search box you will find a link to signup. With Google’s 1,100,000,000 pageviews a day (according to Website Outlook, so we’re not sure how accurate that really is) they’re bound to bring in some traffic. What are you waiting for; sign up!

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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 google.com/+ – 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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social Stories September 16, 2011

The first mention of a social news app from Google came in a Google+ post yesterday by tech watcher Robert Scoble. He wrote:

I heard from someone working with Google that Google is working on a Flipboard competitor for both Android and iPad. My source says that the versions he’s seen so far are mind-blowing good. 

The news prompted AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher to dig for more clues. The service is code-named Propeller, Swisher learned:

Google is indeed working on rolling out the new product, which is currently called Propeller. Sources said Propeller is apparently one of a number of new socially focused announcements Google is prepping, including new apps.

The app should launch in the near future because Facebook is also unveiling a social publishing platform of its own next week. It was not immediately clear at the time of this writing how Propeller ties with Google+, if at all. Given the company’s strong social focus and the fact that Propeller is being described as a social news app, it would seem logical to incorporate at least Google+ sharing features.

9to5Google learned from people familiar with the project that Propeller will boast a prettified interface, as is a norm with its high-end rivals Flipboard and Pulse. Publishers will be able to package their content for distribution right within their web browser, using a dedicated web app. Layout options are said to include multiple layouts to target various tablet and phone brands, including iPhone and iPad. Navigation capabilities will include individual articles, table of contents, as well as browsing custom-made sections that curate multiple articles. Images, video and other rich media types are also at disposal.

Publishers will also be able to…

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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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social Stories July 22, 2011

Following Ancestry.com 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 plus.google.com 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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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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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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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 Ancestry.com (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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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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social Stories July 6, 2011

Facebook’s boss Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the crowd of journalists summoned to the company’s Palo Alto headquarters to reveal new Facebook features designed to tackle the Google+ threat. He began by saying that the industry is quickly approaching an inflexion point where focus will be on apps rather than the number of registered users. Facebook has over 750 million users, he said. Facebook is  hoping to zoom past the one billion mark in the near future, he said, predicting that the social networking industry at large will soon measure its user base in billions.

Social today is about sharing. It’s about what people do on social networks, what content they share and so forth. Sharing on Facebook is growing at an exponential rate, said the executive who famously had the “I’m CEO, bitch” tagline printed on his business card in the early days. Today, an average Facebook user is sharing twice as much than the previous year and in 2012 will share double the items shared today. “We’re at the elbow of the curve,” Zuck said. For example, people share four billion things on aggregate each day on Facebook. This figure excludes direct interactions between users, such as instant messages.

He then took this huge jab at Google:

We just have this belief at Facebook validated by the success of Facebook, entrepreneurs who focus on one thing do better.

Zuckerberg predicted proliferation of apps which are “the biggest driver for us”. Mobile and the ability to segment stuff into groups are the #2 and #3 things for the company, respectively, he said. The CEO then proceeded to unveil an improved Groups feature, a redesigned chat and an all-new video calling via Skype. More about that plus a nice promo clip showing off Skype video calling right below the fold.

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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 google.com/realtime. We’re exploring how to incorporate Google+ into this functionality, so stay tuned.

Trying to access the google.com/realtime 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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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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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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If you attempt to sign in to Google+, the search giant’s latest social thing (coming soon to iPhone as a native app), the system will cut you off if you are not over a certain age, putting up this warning (thanks, @admhawrth):

Could not sign you in to Google+. You must be over a certain age to use Google+.

By the way, what’s a certain age anyway and why don’t they make public the age limit? Because Google+ authorizes users with their Google Account, which is widely used across other Google properties, the system can tell your age by looking up the birth date information in your account.

Of course, kids can circumvent this by creating a brand new account and lying about their age, but the vast majority of ordinary users would prefer using Google+ with their real Google identity. The fun part? You cannot change the year of birth in your Google account. Also notice how the mobile Google+ site cleverly replicates standard iOS 5 dialogue box…

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social Stories June 3, 2011

TechCrunch reports that Google has paid an undisclosed sum to acquire PostRank, a company specializing in social intelligence. The news has just been confirmed in PostRank’s blog post as well. Their team will be moving to Google’s Mountain View, California-based headquarters.

We are extremely excited to join Google. We believe there is simply no better company on the web today that both understands the value of the engagement data we have been focusing on, and has the platform and reach to bring its benefits to the untold millions of daily, active Internet users.

This should get interesting. PostRank measures popularity of social statuses on Facebook, Twitter and other services, meaning it could be a fit for Google’s social efforts, starting with the +1 button they recently rolled out. A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch that the PostRank acquisition will help make their social analytics “more actionable and accountable” for advertisers.

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