Google has just rolled out a massive update for Google+ on Android which removes a lot of apparently extraneous elements, while bringing a new design language.
The new design and UI is said to be part of Google’s larger Android redesign, which we have seen leak in the past. Google+ app now features a prominent red action bar on top, which gives you access to Google+ notifications, the settings menu and account picker. It also has a friends icon to show you suggestions for your circles.
Profiles now display total content views on both Android and the web. Google also says it’s much easier to share content thanks to the ever-present pencil icon at the bottom right. The app menu now slides away as you move down the stream, letting posts fill the entire screen. This is similar to the behaviour seen on the Google Play Newsstand app.
The biggest change in terms of features is the Auto Awesome Stories mode. Google will now combine your photos, videos and the places you visit into beautiful side-scrolling travelogues. It’s almost like navigating on a big map, with your photos placed as landmarks. Check out this sample uploaded by Googler Anil Sabharwal and there are others including one put up by DJ Steve Aoki. Google+ Stories will soon be available for older photographs as well, but right now it only picks pictures and videos from newly-backed up content.
Then there’s Auto Awesome Movies, which are available on Android, iOS and the web, It creates a highlight reel from a certain calendar event, such as a birthday party. Users can create animated GIFs and photobooth-style images on demand with the new Motion or Mix editing features in the Photos tab.
Google says that the app now supports really big photo libraries, so there’s no restriction on the amount of pictures you can back up and view from the app. Browsing the photo library is possible by date now, so users can zoom in to the time period they want to see with a drag.