Google+ Hangouts has received some visual and functional updates, shared Google’s Amit Fulay in an official blog post yesterday. Among the first elements to have been given a facelift is the sidebar in Google+ Hangouts. Fulay says 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, shares 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.

Enhanced Google+ Hangouts make it easier for users to find and manage Apps. The sidebar contains those apps that a user uses more often, as also those others that are active in the hangout. Alternatively, users can remove apps from the sidebar at any time. At the time of  writing the post, Google was still rolling out the updates, indicating that they should be accessible to users in a day or two. 

Google+ Hangouts updated with an 'adjustable' sidebar

Google+ Hangouts updated with an 'adjustable' sidebar

Google launched Google+ Hangouts On Air last year. The feature allowed Hangouts to be broadcast by specific users for public viewing. The feature became quite popular with the musician community among other sections who used it as a platform to connect with their fans. In August this year, Google started rolling out a new feature, called Studio Mode in an attempt to make these live hangout concerts sound more like it were done on-stage. In an official blog post, Google's Matthew Leske writes that musicians can begin using the feature by first starting with Hangout On Air, then they have to click on settings and make the transition from Voice to Studio Mode.

What's different with Studio Mode is that it optimizes individual audio for music, rather than for conversation. To demonstrate it better, Google posted a video with Suite 709 and urged users to listen to it to know the difference that Studio Mode brings to the table. To know the difference better, Google tells you to listen to it with your favourite pair of headphones.

Recently, in an official post, Google's Austin Chang elaborated on a new Google+ feature that aimed to give users more control over what they read and share on the social network. He wrote, “Last year we launched volume “sliders” to help you tune the posts in your main stream (, and since then we've extended this feature across Google+. Today we're excited to roll out three related improvements that give you even more control over what you read and share”.

The new feature that now extends across Google+ essentially comprises three related improvements. Chang writes that they now have a slider using which Google+ users receive notifications each time their family or friends post something. This can be done by moving the Google Circle's slider to the right. 

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