Google+ photo and video updates: making editing from the web easier and better

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Today’s Google event brings many Google+ enhancement to mobile and web, but us Chrome users will be specially fond of a a few features. Editing video and photos can be a bit of a hassle, especially for those working with a Chromebook. There are some web apps available, but there is nothing better for Chrome OS users than working with Google’s services. Google+ has been the best answer so far, and it just got better!

We can use the best of Google’s newly-acquired Snapseed on the web. Just click on the “Edit” tab from your Google+ photo and you are set to go. You get access to most of the popular edits people tend to perform; like contrast, brightness, saturation, etc. But Google made all of this even better with a few new features.

High-quality photos

For one, full-size backups and background sync are coming to the iOS apps. This covers a substantial amount of users, so it will be great to be able to take full advantage of your high-resolution photos.

Finding your photos is easier than ever!

This part of the announcement really impressed me. Finding your photos in Google+ is now a breeze! It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember where you left it, Google has implemented search to your photo albums. And it’s not your regular ol’ search, this recognizes what is displayed on your image and allows you to search by description. No need to tag or have the right name.

For example, one can search for “picture of a sunset” and Google will use its photo-recognition system to find all the sunset images available. That is just one example and we don’t know how well this will work, but I am pretty excited to check it out.

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Auto Enhance: toning it down a bit

I am not a big fan of Auto Enhance on Google+. In fact, I have it turned off for all my images. That is because I am a photography enthusiast and like having all control, but we are sure many of you will enjoy the ease and simplicity of Auto Enhance. One thing is for sure, though, many times auto-enhanced photos can be improved.

Google has added a dial that allows you to lower or raise the enhancements. Feel like the picture looks way too edited? Just dial it down to your liking. In addition, you can also enjoy Snapseed’s new HDR Scape filter, which will help you balance out lighting when there is too much backlight.

Auto Awesome gets even funner

It’s always fun to take some pictures and see that Google has given you a little treat in the form of an Auto Awesome animated picture. So far these have only been that, though, animated pictures. The Google+ team is now adding three new types of Auto Awesome media: Action, Eraser and Movie.

Action is one of those images put together by multiple shots of a person moving. It is perfect for sports and moving objects. Check out this example to see what it is all about.

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Eraser also takes multiple images, but it gets rid of the distractions instead of adding more of the subject. For example, the image below displays a couple that was surrounded by a huge crowd of people. Turn on Eraser and you are set. The people are gone!

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I happen to dislike this feature. I feel like it made the image look ver unnatural, but that may not be the case every time. This street was literally filled with people and it’s hard to correct that.

The last Auto Awesome feature is “Movie” and it does exactly what the name sounds like. It creates Auto Awesome videos out of your personal movies. You can add filters, edit the video, cut the clips and more. It is quite a fun-looking feature, to be honest. You can be sure we will be checking it out.

Hangouts announcements

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Hangouts has also been greatly improved. Hangouts will now support SMS, which is a huge step that I am not sure I will like. Sure, it’s nice to get rid of apps, but I also like to keep my chats organized and separate. It will be a bit annoying to have my text messages mixed with my Hangout chats. We will have to see how exactly it works, though.

Another upgrade is that you can now share your location with a friend by simply taping a button. Google Hangouts will take your location from Google Maps and send it right out to your buddy. Animated GIFs are also supported and video calls are now better handling bad lighting.

Hangout video calls now also have effects and filters, so you can have some fun making enhancing your video feed.

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When can I get these features?!

Google promises all photo and video features will be available sometime this week. One caveat is that Auto Awesome Video only works on Android 4.3+ devices, which makes very few of us. I guess we will just have to be patient. As for the Hangouts updates, all of that should be ready “within a few days”.

What do you guys think of all these new features? I like some, but others worry me. I am not sure what will happen with Hangouts and SMS, for example. Will that be an option, or will my SMS app disappear completely? Can I turn Hangouts SMS off? We will see.