Google announced a major Google+ app update today. The new version of the Google Plus app for iPhone and Android includes Instagram-like photo editing powered by Snapseed.
Last September Google purchased Nik Software, the company that created “Snapseed,” one of the most interesting photo editing apps for iPhone and iPad. When Google announced it would be shutting down Google Reader it also announced it would not update Snapseed Desktop, but would continue to offer Snapseed for mobile devices.
They had other plans for Snapseed in the works too. They’ve integrated Snapseed photo editing into Google Plus in much the same way Facebook integrated Instagram like filters into the Facebook Photo App.
Users will now be able to rotate, crop, adjust saturation, contrast, brightness, and add filters like “Drama” and “Retrolux.”
The update to Google+ doesn’t include advanced features from Snapseed like control points, a feature that lets you make specific adjustments to different sections of a photo. For that Google recommends downloading the stand alone Snapseed app.
Other improvements to the app are all about Google Plus communities. Mobile users can now adjust the volume of community posts they see in the Home stream. You can invite people to a community or re-share a post with a community. Community managers can also moderate content, and remove unwanted users from the community, from the mobile App.
The new Android version of the Google+ app includes some design changes:
- Posts include more text up front—from the original message, and from comments
- Tapping video, photo or link attachments takes you directly to a watch page, lightbox or website
- Image previews are rarely cropped, so you’ll see portrait photos (for instance) in all their glory
- Key actions like +1, reshare and comment are displayed more prominently in each post
- You can swipe through photo albums inline
Tech companies have an annoying business practice where they buy innovative tech products people like and shut them down while incorporating the tech into bigger products. Google is doing something smarter here. They’re incorporating tech from Snapseed into Google+ to make Google+ better, but they’re not killing Snapseed to do it.