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Google Hangouts now has its own hangout on the Web

Google Hangouts now has its own hangout on the Web

Google has been steadily simplifying the Google+ brand, primarily by separating the rather amorphous service from more stable and more independent products. The latest to get that treatment is Google's all-embracing Hangouts messaging platform. To emphasize the point that it is a distinct product separate from Google+, the tech giant has given it not only a facelift on mobile, but now also a home on the World Wide Web. Yes, Hangouts now has a website of its own and you can use it on a browser, no plugin required.

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Google+ cuts ties with YouTube with one important warning

Google+ cuts ties with YouTube with one important warning

Google announces cutting software ties between YouTube and their social network Google+. No longer will YouTube require a Google+ profile for new users looking to upload, comment, or create a channel. No longer will comments posted on a YouTube video also be posted on a user's Google+ profile. Freedom from one or the other is upon us. No longer will Google be pushing Google+ directly in to the comments section of YouTube, and both parties will be the better for it.

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Some Google+ Local pages are getting the ax next week

Some Google+ Local pages are getting the ax next week

Starting July 28, Google plans to shut down abandoned Google+ Local pages. Such information comes from a statement that was published by a user on the Local Search Forum. Businesses that worry they may be on the chopping block needn't panic, however -- all it takes to keep your page is verification, so if you've been putting that off, now is the time to get busy. With this, it seems Google is keen on separating its Google Plus and local worlds.

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Google Hangouts updated for iOS with Material Design

Google Hangouts updated for iOS with Material Design

Google's design ethos does not end at Android. Releasing their newest version of Google Hangouts for iOS this week, the company's "Material Design" specifications have taken over. This version of the app is not a bordered affair. No longer will you be drowning in non-Material-friendly bits and pieces. This version of the app is made for the future. It's also made to allow you the ability to send multiple photos in one, singular Hangouts message from you to your best buddy.

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Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed

Google+ isn’t dead, but blood has been shed

Remember Google+? Google’s social network has long been the butt of jokes, positioned first as the Facebook killer for the whole family but failing to hammer the killer nail into Zuckerberg’s empire. Turns out, though, that Google+ isn’t going away, though the broadly-misunderstood network is certainly going to change according to VP of Product Bradley Horowitz speaking at Google I/O today.

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First images of Android M’s new photos app surface

First images of Android M’s new photos app surface

There have been rumblings for some time now of Google spinning off the photos features of Google+ into a separate app, and now, with the company's I/O 2015 event only days away, some of the first images of the Android version have been leaked. The timing can't be a coincidence. Google is expected to announce Android M, the code name for the latest version of the mobile OS, and a new photos app could play a big part in the new software offerings.

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Google+ Photos spinoff tipped to be ready for I/O 2015

Google+ Photos spinoff tipped to be ready for I/O 2015

No matter how you look at it, no matter how Google wants to spin it, things aren't looking good for Google+. The tech giant's attempt to take a bite out of Facebook is slowly but surely getting dismantled, with the Photos part now said to be ready to break out on its own as early as late May, in time for Google's annual developers conference. Officially, it's a way for the social platform to slim down and focus on what it does best. Unofficially, it is also a sign of a lack of vision, direction, and confidence.

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Google Plus ‘Collections’ now rolling out to users

Google Plus ‘Collections’ now rolling out to users

Whether or not Google is dismantling Google+, reorganizing it, or just thinking differently about social is unknown. Through signs that the social layer of Google is at least being demoted through the ranks, the service has nonetheless added a new feature that pinches a bit of cool from another social service that might be more widely used. With Collections, you’ll be able to take things of interest and organize them into lists, which can in turn be shared to the public, or a more private audience.

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Google Plus is now on Twitter (don’t panic)

Google Plus is now on Twitter (don’t panic)

So, uh, this is awkward. That social service you don’t really use is on the one you probably do. Today, Google Plus opened a Twitter account. You might assume (as many did) it's a troll account, but it’s not. The official Google account has retweeted their first tweet, and the Google Plus Google Plus account posted a link to their new Twitter account. It’s got people wondering what’s going on, but it’s pretty simple: they’re recruiting. In an attempt to get more traction in the social space, Plus is taking to Twitter to spread the word.

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What you need to know about Google Drive’s ‘Photos’ backup

What you need to know about Google Drive’s ‘Photos’ backup

Not long ago, Google blogged that Drive would now serve as an automatic backup point for your photos. While the announcement was welcome, the service wasn’t quite ready for primetime, leaving the new ‘Google Photos’ tab in Drive dormant. Users are starting to see auto backup pop up for both Android and iOS, but there are some interesting wrinkles some may not have considered. Rather than let you figure it out on your own (and maybe delete pics accidentally), we’ll go over what’s what with Drive’s automatic backup.

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Google+ is being dismantled, and that’s a good thing

Google+ is being dismantled, and that’s a good thing

In a recent chat with Forbes, Google’s Sundar Pichai turned a few heads by noting Google+ would be considered as parts — not the sum of those parts. Rather than a social network, Plus would be a stream. And Photos. And Communications. Adding a bit of fuel to the fire was the subsequent dismissal/resignation of Dave Besbris as the head of Google+. Besbris took over for Vic Gundotra, who spearheaded Plus from inception. With a new boss in Bradley Horowitz, the circumstance around Plus might sound confusing. That’s because they kind of are.

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New Google+ boss confirms Photos, Streams split

New Google+ boss confirms Photos, Streams split

Google really has some trouble putting Google+ in its proper place, or at least helping the public understand what it's all about. The much maligned social network, if you still could call it that, has weathered problem after problem but now it seems that the status quo isn't going to last anymore. Brad Horowitz, who will be standing at the helm of Google+, has just confirmed speculation that the service will soon be split up into a more photo-centric product called Photos and the traditional social feed called Streams.

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