Google+ adds custom URLs and new photo features

Google+ changes

Google+ Introduces Custom URLsThis week Google announced a number of updates and new features for its Google+ platform. We bring you a summary of what you need to know…

Custom URLs

Custom URLs are now rolling out to almost everyone. If you don’t see the option yet on your Google+ profile or Google+ Page, don’t worry: Google says it is expanding availability throughout the week.

For those who don’t know what custom URLs (also called vanity URLs) are, here’s quick example. Currently, your Google+ will be a long, arduous series of numbers, e.g. plus.google.com/u/0/106743928610778916/. When offered a custom URL, you can change it to something that’s easier to share (and remember). Mine, for example, is now google.com/+DanielHoney and the Honey Digital page is google.com/+Honey-Digital.

Google first started testing custom URLs back in the middle of August 2012. About a week later, the company started notifying individuals and brands with verified accounts, but then it largely stopped expanding the feature. Now that’s finally changing.

If your profile meets the following criteria, Google+ will let you claim a custom URL:

  • Has a profile photo, and
  • Has at least 10 followers, and
  • Has an account that’s at least 30 days old.

At the same time, brands and businesses that have a linked website or a verified local business can claim a custom URL for their Google+ page as well. If you fall into either of these categories, you’ll want to read more about link and verification over at the Google+ Help Center.

Once you meet the eligibility criteria and Google prepares your custom URL, you can just visit your Google+ profile or Google+ page to begin the claiming process. Until then, you’ll just have to wait patiently, probably playing with all the other Google+ features that rolled out today.

Photo & Video

Highlight update

Photo highlighting has been improved. If you’re not familiar, this offering will review all your photos and use its algorithm to remove those images that are blurry, duplicates, have bad exposures, look for objects people like, and more.

With the app, by default, Google+ searches your libraries for images. However, now it’s going to parse through photos from within your Circles (as long as you have permission). So if you query “sunset”, it will give you the right set of photos.

Photo enhancements

Photo enhancements are also in the works too, starting with auto-enhance. It has been adjusted to give you a low/high ability and can turn albums on or off. By turning auto-enhance on low or high, it will give you varying intensities, including saturation, vignette, contrast, etc.

Auto-Awesome

With Auto-Awesome, Google says that it helps you better create appealing stories. The company is introducing two new modes, namely Auto-Awesome Action which shows you the motion of an object in a photo, like a skateboarder going around a curve or a basketball going into a hoop.

Auto-Awesome Eraser is another new feature that lets photographers remove obstructions from their photo.

The idea is to help you be better storytellers and to share your memories the way you want, not dictated by others.

Video

Google’s media-enhancing ‘Auto Awesome‘ tool on Google+ now supports video files. With no input whatsoever, the feature will take your recorded clips and create new videos with automated transitions, music and effects.

Called ‘Auto Awesome Movies’, this new piece of technological wizardry will instantly stabilize your shots, choose the best or most important parts of your footage and create an all-new highlight reel that’s been cut in-time with some free music from Google.

As you swipe across the screen on a touchscreen device, Google+ will create different cuts based on different moods, musical genres and editing styles. It’s also possible to jump into a timeline mode and see exactly which changes Google has made – from here, you can make additional edits and effectively fix any editing issues that may have slipped through by mistake.

Check out the promo video below to get a feel for how it all works:

 

[Source: Google; TNW; The Verge; Engadget]