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Google+ Gets More Useful Notifications, Multi-Admin Support for Pages and Noise Control for Circles

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The Google+ is ending the year with a massive number of updates and new features. Besides giving users greater control over what appears in their main stream, the Google+ team also launched support for multiple administrators for Google+ Pages and more useful notifications that provide users with what Google calls "sneak peaks" at updates from your stream. In addition, Google+ now also features a redesigned lightbox for photos, which have quickly become a central feature on the site.

All of these updates are rolling out now and will be be available to all users within the next few days.

Noise Control

Ever since the launch of Google+, its users have asked for better ways to control what appears in their streams. With today's update, Google introduces a slider for each of your circles that allows you to fine-tune how posts from this circle appear in your stream. As Robert Scoble, one of the site's most prolific users points out, Google+ users now finally have a "first form of noise control this morning. Good first step. Now we need Gmail-style filtering on top of this."

New Lightbox

Ever since its launch, photos have been a significant part of the Google+ experience. The new Lightbox, which Google introduced today, has been redesigned to enhance navigation, comment legibility and "better overall utility."Google also launched a new tagging experience that it calls "fun and fluid."

Finally: Useful Notifications

Also new today are a set of improvements to the notifications that Google prominently displays in its redesigned Google bar. Until now, there was very little information in these notifications. Now, instead of saying "Mr. X and 3 others commented on your post," you will actually see the comment right in the notifications window, for example.

Multiple Administrators for Google+ Pages

For businesses and publishers who manage Google+ Pages, today's updates also finally introduce support for multiple administrators (up to 50). In addition, these administrators will now also get access to a new notifications flow and an "aggregated count of users that have engaged with your page, either by +1’ing it or by adding it to a circle."

Support for multiple administrators was probably the most-requested feature when Google launched these brand pages. Indeed, it came as quite a surprise for many when they couldn't add additional managers to their new pages. It's good to see that Google has quickly added this feature, though I can't help but wonder why this feature wasn't available at launch.

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3:19 pm


Google+ Finally Launches Brand Pages – Now Open For All (Updated)

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Ever since the launch of Google+, businesses have been wondering when they could finally open up their own outposts on Google+. After a long delay, Google finally pulled back the curtains from its product for brands today. These new so-called Google+ Pages look pretty much exactly like regular Google+ profiles, but with a ‘page’ icon next to the page’s name, a +1 button and the ability to share a page with your friends. While Google isn’t ready to just let any brand onto the service yet, it is launching a number of pages with well-known brands like H&M, Toyota and Pepsi.

While you can’t create a brand page yourself yet, Google notes that it wants local businesses, brands, products, companies, arts and entertainment organizations and sports teams to set up their own pages on the service.

Update (1:15pm PT): Google just announced that the rollout is now complete and that anybody who wants to can now sign up for a Google+ Page. 

What Took Them So Long?

The Google+ Pages themselves aren’t really that exciting. Indeed, looking at them now really makes you wonder why it took Google so long to release this feature. The Google+ team regularly noted that it wanted to get this feature right and hence wasn’t ready to release it yet. I gather designing a ‘page’ icon and putting a +1 on a page doesn’t quite account for the long delay.

The only major difference between regular profile pages and Google+ pages is that they feature a cumulative +1 count that adds up all the +1s on a given site.

Direct Connect: More Interesting than the Pages it Powers

More interesting than the pages themselves, then, is the second new feature Google announced today: Direct Connect from Google search. The idea here is that you can now search for [+], followed by a page and Google will immediately take you to that brand’s page. This doesn’t work when searching for regular people, but it does work for Angry Birds.

According to Google, a page’s eligibility for being included in the Direct Connect program “is determined algorithmically, based on certain signals we use to help understand your page’s relevancy and popularity.” Publishers should also ensure that their content is linked to their Google+ pages.

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6:29 pm