Yesterday, Google revealed plans for an announcement today. Nexus 5? Android 4.4? If only we were so lucky. Right from the get-go, the company was clear that this was to be focused clearly on Google+, and sure enough, this was no misdirection for a secret Nexus 5 launch – Google+ is what was promised, and Google+ is what we got. Even without that new phone, there was still a lot to announce, with most of it focused on improvements to Hangouts and the Google+ photo and video experience.
Hangouts for Android is finally getting SMS integration, as had been foretold. There’s also new support for animated GIFs (because YAY!) and location sharing. Video calls should see a big quality improvement (with fullscreen support), and broadcasters get new tools.
Those of you using Google+ to store your photos will notice a number of changes for the better, including improved object recognition for smarter searching, and fine-tuned control over Auto Enhance. Users of Google+ for iOS will also see new backup and background sync support arrive.
Finally, there’s new Auto Awesome stuff, helping you assemble individual shots into a sort of stop-motion “action” display (above), remove unwanted subjects moving through images you’re attempting to snap, and produce automatic highlight reels from videos.
Look for all this to start arriving this week.