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

Google completely unlocks profile name regulations

For the first time in three years, users who have profiles which don’t use their real names will no longer have to worry about getting banned.

In an unexpected Google+ post today, it was announced that the long-standing name policy, which disallowed the use of fake names on profiles, was apparently so confusing and undesired that it has been removed completely. Check out the full details below for the announcement!

Overhauled Hangouts app for Android shown off in Android L screenshots

Yesterday, Google announced at its I/O developer conference a developer preview of the upcoming Android "L" release. What does this have to do with Google+? Well, a visually refreshed version of Hangouts may be bundled in.

Material Design is a new design standard which is set to deliver a fresh and dynamic UI that scales from tiny screens found on Android Wear watches, to phones, tablets, laptops and Android TVs, you get the gist. This means from now and until the launch of the Android L release, you'll be seeing visual overhauls of Google apps (Google+ for Android was the first to debut the new look) across the board on both Android and the web.
New to the left - Old on the right
As you can see in the screenshots above, Hangouts has adopted a more subdued colour palette, rounded profile photos and the new styling which matches the Material Design standard. No new features can be spotted unfortunately, but that doesn't mean there won't be treats when this new version of Hangouts is announced and rolling out.