We knew it was coming, and now it's finally here. Google+ Events. And it's even bigger than we ever thought it could be. Google has gone beyond mere RSVP. Google wants your Events page to be central to your real-life get-togethers, before, during, and after the event. In addition to tying into Google Calendar, Events serve as a central place for all your event photos, organized chronologically that can be uploaded by all guests. It's like a mega feed for your party.
The Events tab on Google+ can be used to create your event and fill out all the necessary details: who's invited, where it is, when it's happening and whatnot. You can invite guests whether they're currently using Google+ or not, which is a huge bonus, as Google is still trying to gain traction with its social network. Once you create the event, it is immediately added to your Google Calendar. That's just where the fun begins.
Events get their own dedicated page on Google+. Not only can your friends view the invite from there, but they can also check to see if they're available straight from the event. A "check availability" button will pop up a small dialog of any events in their Google Calendar around the time of the event. If there's a conflict, the page can let you know immediately.
The pages can also be themed by the event coordinator with motion banners (or "cinemagraphic themes", as Google likes to call them). You can use Google's built-in images, or supply your own. This solves the mystery of the "themes" function. It's superficial, but very nice.
Here's where the magic happens. Google has always been proud of Instant Upload, the feature that allows users to instantly upload photos to their accounts to selectively share later. Well, for parties, is there really a need to wait until you get home and you're tired and just want to sleep? "Nope!" says Google. Hence "Party Mode" where attendees, any attendees, mind you, can immediately upload pictures directly to an Events page as the shindig is going down. Anyone viewing the event online can even see a live slideshow of what's happening. So, now, all your aunts and grandmas can see all your graduations and birthdays even if they live on the other side of the country.
In what might be one of the coolest features of the new Events pages, all the photos from an event can now be consolidated onto a single page. So, no more "Hey, can you send me the pics from the party" because they're already there. Of course, if you missed some, pictures can also be added later. The pictures can be sorted by who took the photo, who's in the photo, or perhaps most intriguingly, when the photos were taken, creating a chronological feed of the event in the order it happened.
The events page also collects the most active photos at the top in an "Events Highlights" section. Photos with the most comments and +1s will appear front and center to highlight the best (or at least most talked about) parts of the event. So naturally, the first kiss at the wedding, blowing out the candles at a birthday party, and the part where Candi took her top off at the first party of the Fall semester will all be readily accessible.
All in all, it's a lot of seemingly-minor features that leave us wondering why this hasn't been done before. Google Events could be used for far more than just organizing parties. A family could just as easily set up a private event for Christmas morning and use the event page to auto-collect all of the photos from the day and then share those photos with friends. The only thing that could make it better is if it had support for video/Hangouts, though I can't imagine Google hasn't thought of that yet.