We had high hopes for the Nexus 5's camera, and while we haven't gone so far as to call it awful, we wouldn't rush to call it much more than a general improvement over last year's offering. It tops what the Nexus 4 brought to the table, but it doesn't quite match what other manufacturers have come up with since. Yet Google doesn't like this narrative, so its moving forward with efforts to brand its latest handset as the perfect companion for capturing any moment.
Earlier today at a livestreamed event in San Francisco, Google's SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features slated for Google+ and Hangouts.
While we're still waiting for the Hangouts update that will enable SMS support, animated GIFs, and location sharing to hit the Play Store, which should happen in a few days, the Google+ update 4.2 is already live.
G+ Photos is now Photos
After playing around with this version for a bit, I'm glad to report that the annoying and superfluous G+ Photos shortcut is now gone.
Following the new improvements to Hangouts revealed at today's event, Vic Gundotra announced a slew of new features for Google+ photos, including new auto-enhance options, 1000 additional image recognition words, Auto Awesome Movies, and other tools aimed at making backing up, editing, and retrieving your content even easier.
Google+'s new auto-enhance options improve upon the tweaks Google already applies to images that are automatically backed up to the service. Faces look brighter, noise is reduced, and vignettes are applied.
According to Googler Virgil Dobjanschi, there's a new version of Google+ for Android rolling out the Play Store right now. While there's no official changelog and the Play Store entry doesn't seem to be telling much, the biggest addition is a new notification for when your photos have been given the "Auto Awesome" treatment. If you'll recall from the 2013 Google I/O presentation, Auto Awesome is a processing feature that automatically turns similar photos into collages or animated GIFs.