Google+ users must’ve been especially good this year, because the company has just announced that it’s stuffing the service with a bevy of new features just in time for the holidays, along with updates to the core Android and iOS G+ apps.
As is usual with cross-platform Google products, the Android version is getting the most bells and whistles. The new build adds a lock screen widget for Jelly Bean adoptees, portable profile editing, and more granular mobile notification and Communities options, along with a couple of picture-related improvements. (Perhaps to court jilted Instagram users?)
The Android Instant Upload photo feature now backs up up to 5GB of full-sized photos, or an unlimited amount of photos scaled down to 2048 pixels. Plus, all Android users will be able to view 360-degree “photo sphere” images in their G+ stream, though you’ll still need the latest and greatest Android 4.2 OS to actually snap a photo sphere.
The iOS changes are a bit more subtle, adding larger in-Stream conversation cards, tap-to-view photos and the ability to swipe through photo albums in-line.
The core Google+ service also received some minor tweaks. It’s now easier to share Events with other Google+ users and see who has viewed your invitation, while Hangouts requires less bandwidth than ever and will ditch the row of empty “face” boxes if you’re the only person in the chat.
Read about all the changes over on the Google+ blog.