This summer Google+ reached the first anniversary milestone of its summer 2012 launch. The anniversary fell during the annual Google I/O conference, which more than 6,000 developers typically attend. Google is known for introducing big, new projects at the I/O conference, as past introductions have included Chrome and Android.
At the 2012 conference, Google celebrated the first anniversary of its social network by announcing two new additions to Google+. The first announcement centered around making Google+ more mobile, while the second put yet another feature in the hands of Google+ users.
In order to increase the mobility of Google+, Google introduced two new tablet-based apps for the social network, both of which are currently available. The apps are available on the iPad and on Android tablets. With added hangout features and stream animations, the new app is not only fun and interactive but will also allow Google+ users to take the social network with them on the go.
In addition to introducing the Google+ tablet app, Google also launched Google+ Events at the I/O conference. Google+ Events allows users to create pages for events, invite guests (who can RSVP), and upload photos and videos to the pages. While similar tools may exist online, Google+ Events is different than the others because of its reliance on multimedia features. Google+ users can send video invitations and, perhaps even more innovative, they can automatically upload photos and videos from the event as they are taken. Simply turn on “Party Mode” and take a photo or video at the event and it will automatically be sent to the Google+ Event page.
These two new features are big news for Googlers and had a big introduction at the Google I/O conference, but they aren’t the first additions or changes Google+ has seen during its first year. In November, Google integrated the social network with Google Apps, its cloud computing platform, which helped make the entire Google suite more seamless. Additionally, in March, Google+ underwent a redesign which left it with a customizable navigation ribbon, a more prominent chat list, larger photos, an Explore page, and much more.
Google put a lot of effort into growing its social network during the first year, and as it enters its second year it does so with a much clearer purpose. Chief among Google’s goals is to make the entire Google suite more seamless and to give users a simpler experience. The senior vice president of engineering at Google, Vic Gundotra, has voiced his opinion that Google+ will play an integral part in achieving this goal. Gundotra and others at Google look at Google+ as an avenue that can help tie in the varied Google platforms with one another and make the transition between them more seamless for users.
Google+ changed a lot during its first year and it also achieved a lot, gaining over 250 million users and earning recognition as one of the most important social networks for businesses. Given the effort that Google is putting into its social network, one can only expect that Google+ will continue to make great progress in its second year.
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