The Google+ app for Android has an update rolling out in the Play Store that brings support for Android Oreo’s new Notification Channels feature. The update is version 9.20 for those keeping score. It was released yesterday and should come to everyone who has the app installed over the course of the next few days.
For those who aren’t familiar, Notification Channels are built into apps by developers as a way to allow you greater control over the notifications you see and how you are notified. They bring granularity to notifications and not just a general “on or off” type functionality. That’s an over simplification but you get the idea.
With this update to Google+, you have three channels now available: App Status Updates, New Activity, and Content. You can now customize the notifications for the app to different levels depending on how you set it up. To setup the channels, go to Settings>Notifications then select the Google+ app. There you will see your stock notification settings which you can tap to adjust.
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A few weeks ago, Google announced that they would be rolling out location sharing in Google Maps. The new feature will allow you to share your location with friends and family for a set period of time and it will work across Android and iOS devices. As a part of that effort, it appears the company is starting to shut down location sharing within Google+.
Google+ has had the ability to share your location for a long while but if you attempt to use it now, you are greeted with a splash page indicating that the feature is moving to Maps. The tricky bit is that it hasn’t fully rolled out to Google Maps yet either.
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In the latest update to the Google+ app for Android, Google has quietly removed the menu link to Google Spaces. It could be the first indicator that the carcass of yet another social networking attempt by Google is about to be thrown on the pile. And frankly, it wouldn’t be all that shocking. The change can be found in the 9.6.0 build of Google+ for Android and if you open up the menu using the hamburger menu or a swipe from the left side of your screen, you’ll see that there is no link to Spaces.
The idea behind Spaces was never fully articulated. It was somewhat like Circles in the original Google+ but it was also aimed to allow you to create a “space”, invite friends so that you could discuss the space’s defined topic. You could also share videos, images, texts and other media. In theory, a pretty cool idea but Spaces never really took off.
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A couple of weeks ago, a new feature rolled out in Google Plus (G+) that allowed you to leave images in comments on posts. This was very well received by users on the social platform as it gave a bit more of a personalized response to something (with an image or a GIF) instead of just text. Now the Google Plus team has expanded that a bit further. In the latest update, version 8.7 for those keeping score at home, you can now view those images in the replies in full screen and yes, you can save them to your phone to add to that awesome meme or GIF library.
In other words, the images in comments are treated and act like images in an original post on the site.
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Google Plus, the social and community site from the Mountain View company, celebrates its 5th birthday today. The site and service was the 4th attempt by Google to bring forth a social networking site after Buzz, Friend Connect and Orkut all died. Plus is by far the longest lived of any attempt into this arena by Google and over the course of 2014 and 2015, it looked like it too would end up on the digital trash heap. But it hasn’t. Google continues to tweak on it both on the web and in apps for Android and iOS. It has evolved from a proper head-to-head competitor of Facebook and even Instagram to something different. Sure it has the elements of those services but it is really more focused on community. Within Google Plus you can easily find a community of like minded people on a whole range of subjects and interests. You can create your own topic creations, your own communities and share them with everyone. Not only is Google Plus surviving, you could make the argument that it is thriving.
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The Google Plus app for Android has yet another update rolling out today, the ninth such update this year. Version 7.8.0 brings mostly refinements to the community centric app for Android and brings back quick access to other Google apps you may have installed on your phone. In all, there are 22 bugs fixed in this update according to Google’s Luke Wroblewski as well as Quick access to Google Photos, Hangouts and Search within the app. If this seems like a blast from the past, it should. Before Google decided to decouple other services and apps from G+, you had quick access to other Google apps before the whole Google Plus is Dead, Long Live Google Plus era we are in now. This is back now and frankly is a great touch that has needed to come back to the new and improved app.
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The evolution of Google+ marches on and thanks to Google’s Luke Wroblewski, the details of the update to the Android app for the social & community site are now available. The update has already started rolling to the Google Play Store so if you haven’t received the update yet, you will over the next few days. The updated version you are looking for is 7.4.0 and it will be available for both Android phones and tablets.
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