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U2 joins Google+, high-fives Vic Gundotra

U2 joins Google+, high-fives Vic Gundotra

You know the feeling you get when you walk past a Google executive and just casually say hello as you enter their social network for the first time? That's the feeling Bono-led U2 got this week as their presence on Google+ becomes news enough to cover in the ever-so-important cross-brand collaboration war between the social networks. Here U2 appears, and they appear official from the start.

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White House holiday special live through Google+ Hangout

White House holiday special live through Google+ Hangout

Today you'll find a very special Google+ Hangout hosting the likes of the White House - the President of the United States and family - in a holiday special. This special presentation will be made immediately upon this article's publishing and will last approximately 35 minutes. Have a peek!

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Twitter turnaround on block backlash highlights social shortcomings

Twitter turnaround on block backlash highlights social shortcomings

Twitter's decision to make an abrupt about-face on blocking policy after user outcry has highlighted little-understood shortcomings in how social services handle privacy and bullying, sending the 140-character message service back to the drawing board to refine its procedure. Twitter had thought it was improving the relatively blunt blocking process users were offered when it quietly changed the system on Thursday morning; by the evening, however, the company had been forced to restore the old approach, following criticisms that the amended tools in fact victimized those affected by bullying, rather than the bullies themselves. Meanwhile, the turnaround raises questions around the blocking and privacy tools other popular social networks offer their users.

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Google+ for Android turns your phone into a snowglobe

Google+ for Android turns your phone into a snowglobe

Google is adding a feature to the Android version of Google+ this month in their newest update that'll turn your device into a snowglobe. What you'll be able to do is open Google+, open a photo inside Google+, and shake to see snow. This is an addition to the Auto Awesome snowing feature shown off earlier this month in photos Google+ saw fit to have such fanciful flakes. These images appear as .GIF files and can be shared as such.

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Play Store app update rolling out with activity page, more social recommendations

Play Store app update rolling out with activity page, more social recommendations

The world is a social place, and the digital variety is no exception. Keeping pace with this, Google has announced a new update to the Play Store app that brings with it a couple different social elements achieved with Google Plus integration. The update is rolling out now, but will continue to do so for the next couple days, so those who aren't seeing it yet might have to wait a bit longer.

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Google Plus iOS app updates design, adds hi-res media backups and mapping

Google Plus iOS app updates design, adds hi-res media backups and mapping

Google has issued three key updates to its Google+ app for iOS. Two of the updates apply to all iOS versions for which the app is supported (6.0 and later.) The third update applies only to iOS 7. All of the updates went live this morning.

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Glass quietly adds personalized photo search

Glass quietly adds personalized photo search

Google's XE11 update for Glass may have added calendar and custom location support, but that's not the only personalized search that the wearable now offers. Glass can now search through Google photos with a custom speech search command, so for instance it's now possible to ask "OK Glass, Google my pictures for cats" and see all of the shots you've uploaded that have felines in them. The system also supports tagged people.

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YouTube makes Google+ commenting system live

YouTube makes Google+ commenting system live

Back in September, YouTube revealed that Google+ commenting would be integrated into the video service, something that would revamp the system to provide better conversations and incentive to converse. It has been a bit over a month, and the change has finally gone live, bringing with it not only more relevant comments, but the ability to better moderate conversations that take place on your own videos.

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Google Helpouts only latest in long line of human help engines

Google Helpouts only latest in long line of human help engines

The new "Helpouts" program by Google connects experts with people in need of answers via Google Hangouts and Google Plus. But the human help engine is only the technological evolution of a series of Google products designed to fulfill the same purpose. Its now-defunct Knol and Answers products are cases in point.

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Hangouts SMS support doesn’t work with Google Voice

Hangouts SMS support doesn’t work with Google Voice

Earlier this week, Google announced a Hangouts update that brings SMS functionality, which is nice but unfortunately comes with a snafu. According to Nikhyl Singhal, who took to Google+ today, there are some issues to be ironed out with Google Voice, and for the time being neither of the two aforementioned Google services will be able to exchange SMS with each other.

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Google+ image search grows: 1000 words added to non-tagged photos

Google+ image search grows: 1000 words added to non-tagged photos

If you've not tried to search through your images on Google+ with what Google calls Computer Vision, you really should take a peek. What Google had done today is to add a new wave of terms to what you've already been able to do since earlier this year: search through your photos with search terms (words), even if you've not tagged your photos previously. Search for the color red in your photos and you'll find a collection of red photos - search for the word Vespa, and you'll find all the photos you've taken of a Vespa.

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Google Hangouts SMS support added alongside GPS and Gifs

Google Hangouts SMS support added alongside GPS and Gifs

There's now one single location users need to work with to talk with video, text, and images in the Google Android experience. Here with Hangouts, Google has made clear that they're updating the system with three new features, the first - and most important - of these being SMS support. This means that the Hangouts app will be able to attach itself to your SMS on your smartphone.

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