No doubt feeling pressure from certain other social media sites raking in the dough, Google announced Wednesday a slew of new features for Google+ intended to enhance the way users share, organize and tweak photos.
Launched in 2011, Google+ is the search giant’s attempt to steal some thunder from Facebook. As of the beginning of the year, it had more than 500,000 accounts. But Google won’t say how many of those are active, and the widespread impression is that the total is a small fraction of the 1 billion active monthly users on Facebook.
One of Google’s main ploys to turn that around is to improve the experience for the 1.5 billion photos shared every week (compared to 2.5 billion for Facebook) via the service. “Photography today is too hard,” Google Vic Gundotra told a press conference covered by the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s too hard to create treasures.”
- Automatic hashtagging based on Google’s ever-improving image-recognition technology.
- Automatic enhancement tools such as noise reduction and skin smoothing.
- Faux-HDR effects.
- An automated image analysis feature that can pick the best shots from an event — based on criteria ranging from focus quality to an expanding database of aesthetic considerations — and stitch them into a stop-motion movie, complete with soundtrack.
- Full-resolution uploading and backup for iOS.
- Improved image search regardless of how well (or poorly) the photos are tagged.
- An “eraser” option in “Auto Awesome” for easily removing people and/or objects from an image.
Image credits: Photographs by Google