A beautiful material update to the Hangouts Chrome App is rolling out now.

This new design to the Hangouts Chrome App brings along a new option to switch between the 'Transparent UI' and 'Single-window UI' which should please some users.
The new setting
Toggling the option switches between the floating 'chat heads' we all know and love to a new single-window design. This is great news particularly for users of OS X and Linux as the transparent UI was far from perfect on these platforms. 

As of today, Ripples can no longer be accessed in the name of a simpler, more streamlined Google+.

Ripples was a data visualisation tool which allowed you to see when and where a post was shared from. On a publicly shared post, you'd be able to access the tool via the chevron menu, and watch the "ripples" as a post is reshared. It was pretty cool, and I'm a little sad to see it go. For extra reading on this old favourite, make sure to add "Ripples Explained" to a new tab.

This is all in the name of a simpler and more streamlined Google+, removing the lesser-known/used features and keeping the things that work. In recent weeks, we've had to wave off shared circles, the "Nearby" stream and Google+ Local.

The title got your attention, yeah? It's a question that sparked the discussion with my editor-in-chief (Lee Jarratt) on hashtags. Are they even relevant or needed in this day and age of the optimized search engine? What was his answer? I'll get to that in a bit.

Some of you may be thinking, what exactly is a "hashtag" and what is it for? Many have gone over the history of the hashtag, but that's not what this is for. For those living under a rock, the short answer is that Twitter made it popular and now nearly every social media platform uses it for categorizing content.

Here's a fun blast from the past with the first ever use of the hashtag on Twitter:
The first Tweet to make use of a #hashtag
What is the future of hashtags on Google+ and other social media platforms? Let's dive in...

You can access the G+ Help Centre without leaving the Google+ app, thanks to the latest 5.5 update for Android.

Accessing the Help Centre is as easy as tapping on a post > Three dot menu > Help. What's interesting about this is that the app serves up relevant support articles based on popularity and where in the app you're accessing from. This means that you'll see Collections support content when tapping on Help within Collections.