Google has been on a release tear this past few weeks, emerging with big updates for Gmail on both iOS and Android, a new Maps app for iPhone, a new YouTube app for tablets, iterative improvements for Google Now on Android, and others.
Today, Google is capping off its season for shipping, as it likes to call it, by updating its Google+ app with 18 new features. These are not small, insignificant upgrades either; the new app allows for full-quality photo uploads in the background, an improved Hangouts experience, and support for Communities, the social network’s newest group-based endeavour.
The company is finally bringing Photo Sphere support to Google+. Users with phones running Android 4.2 can create these panoramas within the app, and those running earlier versions of Android (read: practically everyone) can view them from within the app. You can also edit your profile on the go, and subscribe to notifications for individual Circles, which is a welcome addition.
Improvements have been made to Google+ Events, the excellent but little-used feature unveiled during this year’s Google IO. Hangouts have been improved, too, allowing users with speed restrictions and bandwidth limits to join and use no more than 150KB of data.
Users of the Android app can also embed animated GIFs (finally!), view birthdays from within Google Now (Jelly Bean-only) and add a lockscreen widget on Android 4.2 devices.
Download Google+ for Android.
Update: Looks like the same update has been released for iPhone. Go grab it.