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What’s Hot on Google Plus

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It seems that every week Google unleashes more and more really nifty features for Google Plus, and they did not disappoint this week. They actually introduced 3 cool new toys this week..What's Hot, Google Ripples, and a photo enhancement suite called Creative Kit for Photos.


What's Hot


Google Plus now has it's own version of Twitter's trending topics. What's Hot shows the hottest posts across the entire Google Plus network, not just in your circles. Whatever is being shared and talked about the most can be found under the What's Hot link on the left side of your screen, under Sparks, as well as underneath new posts inside the main stream.


Google Plus Ripples


It's always fun to check and see how posts travel and how things get shared.  With Google + Ripples you can check a post to see just who shared it and visually follow the conversation.  To see the post's ripples, just click the dropdown options in the upper right hand corner of any post (where you would usually mute or block a post, etc) and click on “View Ripples”.  From there you can see how much it has been shared and by mousing over the individual circles in the diagram can see who it was who shared it. Each circle represents another share, and the arrows show a share's direction. A larger circle with circles inside indicates more resharing. It shows when someone shares a post and multiple people reshare that post from that person. There is also a draggable timeline slide bar at the bottom of the ripples diagram page to let you see the spread of the share by day.  The “View Ripples” choice only shows up once a post has been shared for the 1st time.  It even includes some metrics.  This could be a really useful tool for tracking what your followers are interested in and what gets the most engagement on G+.  There is also a scrollable list of shares on the right that updates as you zoom in and out of the Ripples, which makes it easy to find influential people.




Creative Kit for Photos


Along with the usual options for editing photos in Google Plus, like crop, edit, turn, etc, there is now the option to add Instagram-like effects, like Polaroid, sepia, sharpen and airbrush.  You can even add some text.  These new features will let you make your pictures much more fun, and without having to fire up Picasa or Picnik or Photoshop. Unfortunately, there is no red eye option, so if you have photos that need to have red eye removed, you still have to use an external software, but most other basic fixes can now be done after you upload your photos to Google Plus.  There is also a special Halloween effects option that lets you add spiders, grave stones, vampire teeth, ghosts, and all kinds of fun effects.  Here is a picture of a spider web I took in my backyard a while back.  In the 2nd picture, I used the sepia feature and added a spider for Halloween.





On a side note, Google also FINALLY added the ability for Google Apps users to join G+.  They have been, not so patiently, waiting for it to happen since the start of Google Plus, and Google has finally answered their pleas.
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Google Plus Search is Here Finally!

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One of the most frustrating things about Google Plus (at least for me), especially from Google, who is search, is the lack of any kind of really useable search function.  Finding posts and people by topic or keyword was not really functional at all. Today that has changed. Along with a slew of other changes, mostly involving Hangouts, Google Plus now has a robust search function that will allow users to search for things they're interested in by different criteria, and even save those searches so you can keep up with them in the future. Hallelujah! G+ just got 10,000 times more awesome!


Dave Besbris's profile photoDave Besbris+ originally shared this post:

Here's a few tips and tricks on the freshly launched Google+ search system.
• "Sparks" aren't gone, they're now just way more awesome. We include them, appropriately ranked, along with people and posts from Google+ in your searches.
• We have several ways to control and narrow your results. You can restrict your query to Everything, People, Google+ posts, or just Sparks. You can also switch between "Best" and "Most Recent" which can give very different results.
• You can save a search by using the "Save this Search" button to track your favorite interests. This is like how Sparks worked, but now you get the the best of the Web and the best of the Google+ community in one stream.
• Searches have shareable URLs: You can send someone a link like and it will work. In fact they won't have to be signed up to Google+ or even signed in for the search to work


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