Server-side update enables Google+ stream casting

Last week, Google+ for Android was updated to 4.5 with no new features, but a focus on a buttery smooth experience. Today, Google has flipped the switch on a feature which allows you to cast the stream to your TV.

If you've got the latest version of Google+ and own a Chromecast, look out for the Google Cast icon where the search button appeared on previous versions (hint - it's next to the drop-down menu underneath the action bar).
Keep your eye out for the Google Cast icon
When you've hit the button, you'll see content from your stream on the television with full-screen images, brief excerpts of text from posts complete with profile photos and all. The stream flicks from one post to another every minute or so, but you can manually 'next' content from your Android device.

Google+ 4.5 for Android brings welcome performance improvements

In what seems like the first update to Google+ in a long while, the development team has announced an updated version of the Android app with performance boosts and UI tweaks.

Performance is the main focus on this update, and according to +Virgil Dobjanschi of Google, Google+ will run faster when connected to "less-than-stellar" networks.

Although the big changes in 4.5 revolve around performance, there are a number of small tweaks in the UI. The most noticeable of changes are made to profile pages - everything has been left-aligned, and there are tweaks (animations etc) have been implemented to further align with Google's vision of Material Design.

Latest version of Google Play Store moves the +1 button, places more focus on recommendations

4.9 of Google's Play Store for Android devices is rolling out with more focus on +1s and what people in your circles are recommending.

The main changes are found when visiting app/music/book/movie/magazine titles with a redesign that follows Google's Material Design guidelines. In a nutshell, this means less clutter and more of what you want to see, with a big focus on content.

What we're interested in is the improvements made to recommendations in the partly visually-refreshed Play Store. On versions previous to this one, the +1 button would be near the top of the page, underneath the content's title and screenshots. And on 4.9, the button has been made larger but has moved to below the review section next to 'Share' which not only lets you share to Google+, but to other apps installed on your device as usual.
With 4.9, you'll find the +1 button near the bottom of the page

Photo spheres on Views adds Google+ Comments integration

Views, a website which allows you to view publicly shared photo spheres (360 degree panoramas) on Google Maps has integrated comments functionality powered by Google+.

Views is an excellent crowd-sourced website where people can upload their photo spheres captured using the Google Camera app or DSLR and put them on the map for the world to see. Because of this, it is possible to reach views of hundreds and thousands.

With today's launch of Google+ Comments for Views, viewers can now choose to engage with your interactive panoramas by +1'ing or commenting. Several people that you've added to your circles who've interacted with your photo sphere in some way will be displayed as thumbnails on the sidebar, just how they'd look on Google+ posts.
All the Google+ basics are there - +1's, comments and sharing