Those viewing Google+ photos on their desktop can now pan and zoom on the images to view them better, courtesy an update. Google’s Dave Cohen elaborates in an official blog post that users have to simply open a large photo in the lightbox and then, depending on how they want to view it, they can either use their mouse wheel to zoom in or out and/or click and drag to pan right, left, up or down. Needless to add, photos with higher resolution offer more space to explore, and here Cohen adds that “..we're excited to launch pan and zoom just weeks after launching full-size backups of your Android photos.”

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Pan and zoom on desktop

We recently reported that Google seemed to be testing a social side bar on certain websites that would allow users to chat directly on the page – setting the stage for a bigger advertising stream, quite similar to what Meebo used to have. Meebo’s merger with Google+ was imminent and that’s what seems to have finally happened after months of waiting.

The bar seems to have cropped up on where it was first spotted by Google+ user Clayton Pritchard who shared the information on the site itself. The notifications and sharing options are placed on the right side of the bar. The left of it is filled with information about the page and content. You can share the page with your circle or even +1 the page right from the bar.

While sharing options are usually placed all across the page, having a constantly floating bar could help show a rise in shares and +1s on Google+. On the other hand, most users consider the floating bar to be a bit of an eyesore, taking up a lot of space. Meebo too faced criticisms over these features.

Google+ added the ‘Communities’ feature recently to bring together people with similar interests for topical discussions. The communities aim to be a common platform for the users, by the users to initiate and host discussions.

Google+ communities seem to be a reincarnation of the community feature of Orkut, another social networking website that was bought over by Google too. In the pre-Facebook era, Orkut communities were modelled over the forum style of discussions. The communities had a long list of threads and discussions that went into pages, quite like Google+ Communities.

Google has been trying to weave all its services into one large ecosystem, and the key to access it is your Google+ profile. YouTube integrated the feature of allowing users to connect their Google+ profiles with their YouTube ones. Google also  mentioned that the advanced Google+ page management features that allow up to 50 people to manage a single Google+ page, or one person to manage up to 50 Google+ pages, will work for channels that have been linked with Google+ pages. Google has been trying this option with Google Analytics, YouTube Creators etc. and will be rolling this feature out to all creators in the weeks to come.

The Google Play Store too will integrate your Google+ profiles for all its reviews. Even though Google claims having a Google+ ID on reviews is to weed out fake or spam comments, it is evident that the company is looking at the larger picture, making Google+ an integral part of everyone’s lives.

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