About four months ago, Google added Auto Awesome Stories to the Google+ Android app. This feature groups photos taken at roughly the same place and time when you're traveling away from your home area into a nifty slideshow or "travelogue." It looks like someone at Facebook really digs the idea, because we've been alerted by multiple users who say they've seen pretty much the same thing in the Facebook app over the last few days.
Google is kind (or maybe bold) enough to back up all your photos as you take them. Google+ Photos has some solid editing tools to go along with that functionality, and now it's getting a little better with two new features. You'll be able to go back and tweak a previous edit, and G+ will also be able to apply filters to your photos as part of the Auto Awesome process.
Google releases new Auto Awesomes all the time. Sometimes it makes pictures snow. Sometimes they sparkle. On certain days, pictures even fall in love. These are amusing, but today's new addition is something more. Nothing can turn an average picture into something memorable like a celebrity photobomb. So Google and David Hasselhoff are here to deliver.
Google's had fun creating new Auto-Awesome animations that match the theme of every holiday season these days, but this latest one is rather amusing. For Valentines Day, Google has rolled out animated hearts that will automatically appear on any photos of people kissing. This can add a little extra spark to that loving picture of you and that special someone. As usual, the animation may not appear immediately, but Google+ will shoot you a notification when it's ready.
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.