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A Year of Google+ Updates



While +Bradley Horowitz has called 2013 "the year of Google+," 2012 was itself a big year, featuring a site-wide redesign, the launch of Local, Events and Communities, and hundreds of other updates. 

Our coverage was started by +Lee Jarratt in June, so updates after that are linked to our original posts, and the content becomes much more detailed. Starting in January, here's how G+ has changed:

January


January marked the launch of Search Plus Your World, the first integration of Search and Google+ and a game-changing feature for G+.
It was also a great month for Google-loving teenagers across the world, as people as young as 13 could +Bradley Horowitz announced the availability of Google+ sign-ups for people as young as 13 (down from 18 years). Another new and important update was support for nicknames and alternate names, a relaxation of the controversial "real names" policy.

Highlights

Search, plus Your World
Support for nicknames and alternate names
Google+ available for teens

Other Updates


February



In February, Instant Upload finally came to the Google+ iOS app, giving iPhone users the ability to store and share every photo. It also included a nifty "shake to send feedback" feature.
The +1 button received a big update, allowing sharing straight from the button after it is clicked.

Highlights



March

Hangouts were given a lot of love in March, from new apps like Scoot & Doodle to Google Docs support to new masks. Perhaps most importantly, developers were able to quickly and easily share the apps they had created for the first time.
Also important were the improvements to spam management and control, with spam comments being grouped and hidden so as to distract less from the overall experience.

Highlights


Other Updates


April

A fantastic month for the desktop Plus user, as Google announced a massive overhaul of the design and UI, featuring additions of the ribbon navigation menu, cover photos and much more. Though some users joked about the addition of #whitespace, the design offered a more dynamic and much richer experience, and set a design language for future updates to Google+ apps.

Highlights

Google+ Redesign

Other Updates

Photo integrations for Gmail and Google+
Address book on G+ profiles
Google+ Share button
Rich Snippets and Hashtags in Android app
Sharing Google Drive photos
Hangouts On Air Improvements
New Blogger Gadgets
YouTube and Google+ integration

May



Google+ Local, which featured Zagat scores and reviews from Google+ profiles, was launched in May, changing forever how plussers decide where to go for lunch.
Both Android and iOS received stunning, photo-centric design refreshes, a bold departure from the more conservative previous design. 

Highlights



Other Updates


June


Another big month for Google+ as +Vic Gundotra announced at Google I/O the availability of a now widely used feature, Events, as well as a greatly enhanced mobile app with full support for tablets and unique and innovative features such as Party Mode.
The Google+ History API was also announced, and though still in developer preview, is a promising way to collect and share moments from across the web.

Highlights


Other Updates

Featured Apps on Hangouts Page
Profile sharebox and cover photo improvements
Option added to display your YOB on your G+ profile
New Hover-Over Icons For Photos
New 'Browse People' UI
Photo and Video Sharing UI tweaks
New Slideshow Button


July


Though less exciting than I/O in June, July had some important changes of its own. Gmail got much deeper Google+ integration, with Hangouts replacing the normal video calls. Search, News and YouTube also received tighter integration with our favorite "social layer."

Highlights

Other Updates

August


August was a huge month, featuring the rollout of Vanity URLs for verified pages, "studio mode" for hangouts on air, and updates to the Android and iOS apps, and leading Googler +Matt Waddell to say that #SummerisForShipping. Another update marked further integration of Google+ to the Google homepage, with birthday reminders appearing on google.com.
Google+ also made a big push into the enterprise in August, with the ability for Google Apps customers to restrict posts to their domain and other apps integrations.

Highlights

September


September was a big month for Hangouts, with new tools for managing Hangouts on Air and increased control over the personal hangout experience. +Vic Gundotra also made some landmark announcements, including reaching 100,000,000 active users in the stream and the purchase of Nik Software, creators of Snapseed.

Highlights

Nik Software Purchased, G+ hits 100,000,000 monthly actives
Public invites, Blocking, and 18+ only for Hangouts

Other Updates


October


October saw small updates that touched almost every corner of Google+, from a UI refresh to Instant Upload to the ability to share Google Drive documents with preveiws in a post. With the announcement of the "Photo Sphere" capability in Android 4.2 came the ability to view these immersive panoramas in Google+.

Highlights


November


November featured one of the biggest UI changes since the April redesign, with a sleek new look for Hangouts. A brand new traffic tracking feature, "Authorship Analytics," was rolled out to a small number of users. There's still no word on when it will reach a broader audience. Google Play also received some Google+ love, with reviews now requiring a Google+ account.

Highlights


Other Updates

December


Although December has only just been and gone, it's nice to look back at what could possibly be the biggest month in 2012 for Google+ product announcements and updates. Communities, one of the most transformative G+ features to date, launched to great success. In another #seasonforshipping, over 24 app updates were announced in a single day by +Dave Besbris. And Nik Software acquisition finally came to fruition with the release of Snapseed, free for all platforms.

Highlights

Other Updates

It was a crazy year with hundreds of updates and new features. To discuss your favorite update, join the discussion on our Google+ post. And continue to follow Google Plus Daily for all of the G+ updates in 2013!