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Google+ Photos now lets you download original and enhanced versions of your snaps

In an update to Google+ Photos on the web today, it is now possible to download both the original and enhanced version of your photos.

Google+ automatically enhances your photos (dubbed Auto-enhance) by removing things such as red eye and improving lighting in your shots, and offers several settings which lets you adjust how hard the feature works, or you can turn the feature off entirely to edit the photo manually. The settings for this is in your Google+ Settings but can be changed on a per album basis also.

It has been possible to download your photos individually or by album for a long while now, but today's tweak allows you to download the original version without any of Google's automagic enhancing as well as the auto-enhanced version. Good news right? Well, there's a tiny caveat: Currently the option is only available within the lightbox, which also means that you can't download entire albums with a mix of original and auto-enhanced shots, it has to be one or the other. It is a great start though and I'm sure many people will be pleased at the option.

+Post Ads moved out of beta, now available to all advertisers*

The super-social, interactive +Post Ads are now available to all advertisers with at least 1000 Google+ followers.

First introduced in December as a beta, +Post Ads allow companies to take a slice of their Google+ content and turn it into a rich and fully interactive display ad across the web. If you have yet to stumble on a +Post Ad yourself, rolling over the advert will expand it to its full size, and looks similar to a post you'd see in the stream.

Today, the ad format has moved out of beta after much success with partners. Google are reporting that +Toyota USA saw an impressive 50% higher engagement rate than the industry average with their +Post Ads advertising campaign. Other partners have had similar success also, with +ASOS stating that 71% of viewers for their Hangout on Air was watched from a +Post Ad.

Is this the next major version of the Google+ Android app?

Screenshots of a purported unreleased build of the Google+ Android app have been shared to our community, but are they real or fake?

If the screenshots are in fact genuine, users have a lot to look forward to in the near future. Here's why:

A fresh new look

The most obvious change in this 'in development' build is the removal of the grey we've come to love (or hate) on the navbar. The greyish colour is still in use in the stream, but red seems to be the major new theme here, which makes sense as it blends in with the Google+ logo quite well. The trend started by Google Keep with the use of solid colours and flat design is continuing, that's if the images are to be believed.

Personally, I think the red colouring does feel a little too much, especially when used as shading when pulling out the menu or sharing a post.

As you can see in the screenshots above, the menu has been tweaked to display feedback and help menu items, making the design consistent with recently updated Google apps such as the Google Play Store. That's where consistency ends though, as the new circular red share button is a UI element not currently seen elsewhere.

Now attach photos from Auto Backup in Gmail

As of today, you can attach photos from your Google+ Auto Backup folder to a message in Gmail.

It took a long time, but it's finally here - the ability to add photos from your Auto Backup folder to a Gmail message. That's all thanks to the new Insert Photo button which can be found on the toolbar at the bottom of the compose window in Gmail on the web. As you most likely already know, Auto Backup is a Google+ feature which automatically uploads the photos and videos you take on your mobile devices and uploads it to a private folder which only you can see.
Look for the Insert Photos button to get started
Thanks to the Google+ integration, you can also insert whole albums straight from your Google+ Photos collection. Old functionality hasn't been cut out of the picture (pun very much intended), photo uploading the old way and inserting images from URL seems to be here to stay, or for at least a little bit longer.