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Google+ updates mobile apps with photo filters, location sharing

A significant new update to the company's social-networking apps brings several new features, including Instagram-like filters for the iPhone app.


Google released a big update for its Google+ apps for iOS and Android today, bringing a wealth of new features around photos, location sharing, and the product's overall readability.

The photo features come from Google's acquisition of Snapseed, the company said. According to a blog post, they include basic edits like rotating and cropping photos; Instagram-like filters for the iPhone app; controls to adjust saturation, contrast, and brightness, and easy comparison to your original photo by tapping on the photo.

Google encouraged users who wanted even more control over their photos to download the Snapseed app.

The update also brings users the option of sharing their location with specific circles. "If you enable this option, you'll then decide who can see your best-available location across Google," the company said.

Meanwhile, the company moved to increase the app's information density, packing more updates into less space. Posts will now show more text by default, both from the post and from comments. Image previews will now only rarely be cropped, the company said, and posts will now highlight +1s, reshares and comments more prominently. You can also now swipe through photo albums.

There's lots to digest here, but it shows how seriously Google is trying to turn its social network into a bona fide competitor to Facebook and Twitter. The updates will be in Google Play and the App Store later today.