Google+ users on the Android and iOS platforms are in for a treat today. In an official blog post, Dave Besbris, Vice President of Engineering shares that they have rolled out new Android (v3.3) and iOS (v4.0) apps today. Android users, if you head over to the Google Play store, you will spot the changelog. With this update, Google is offering its social network users a new featue called Google+ Communities. To those who still haven't been introduced to this feature, here's a slight recap.

Android app

Updated Android app gets Google+ Communities feature

Earlier this month, Google+ made it easier to connect and hold discussions with strangers who share the same interests as you by introducing a ‘Communities’ feature. Using the Communities feature, Google+ users can create their own community on the social networking platform. The communities aim to bring together people who share common interests. “From photography to astronomy (and everything in between), Google+ will have a community made by the users, for the users on Google+,” Google’s Vice President Vic Gundotra shared in a blog post at the time.

Other features include support for full resolution photo uploads using Instant Upload. Besbris elaborates that they are offering their Android users full-size backups of their photos (up to 5GB free). This is in addition to the standard-size option (unlimited free storage at 2048px). To begin with it, users will have to turn on Instant Upload and start taking pictures: photos they shoot will be saved to a private album on Google+.

Users can subscribe to any circle for notifications. There is also support for time zones in Events. The updated Google+ app now allows some basic profile editing. The updated app now offers integration with Google Now, allowing users to send birthday wishes to friends. It also supports animated GIFs, this way users can express themselves better in posts. Interestingly, the updated app brings photo spheres to the mobile stream. Users will need devices running Android 4.2 to create 360-degree panoramas, but those using Froyo-or-later can enjoy them. Android 4.2 users can also add the Google+ widget to their device's lock screen. 

ios app

'Find people' feature lets iOS users discover people and topics

The version 4.0 update for iOS users brings it the Communities feature too. Users can subscribe to any circle for notifications. There is also support for time zones in Events. The updated app allows iOS users to indicate the number of guests they'd bring to an event. Like the updated Android app, the updated iOS app also allows some basic profile editing. The app now features a new compose UI enabled easier sharing, in addition to a new visual stream design. Google+ users on the iOS platform can use the 'Find people' feature to discover people and topics with more ease. The apps are up for grabs on their respective stores – Google Play store and the App store.

Earlier last month, Google+ Hangouts received some visual and functional updates, shared Google’s Amit Fulay in an official blog post. Among the first elements to have been given a facelift is the sidebar in Google+ Hangouts. Fulay said that users can show or hide the sidebar if they want. Keeping in mind that on Hangouts the most crucial elements are the people in the room, the updated Hangouts features enhanced invites, chat and apps in a sidebar – available to users when they need it and hidden from sight at other times. Notifications on Google+ Hangouts now look clean and colorful, shared Fulay. Users will spot alerts in red, actions in blue and announcements in grey colours – an arrangement that would make it easier to read and respond to notifications when a user is inside the hangout.

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