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Google makes small changes to Google+ but shows social skills elsewhere

Cameron Scott | June 29, 2012
Reports of the demise of Google+ have been widely exaggerated, Vic Gundotra seemed to suggest on Thursday morning at Google I/O when he said that the social network was hosting 13,000 pictures of the company's party the night before, displayed automatically in chronological order and identified by poster.

The features show that Google is still committed to Google+, and they bring more clarity to the company's intention to make with Google+ a "social spine" for all of its services, said Gartner's Blau.

"The social features are getting pushed out and get integrated into all these different apps," Blau said.

Blau noted that Google Now, an app that runs in the newly minted Jelly Bean version of the Android OS, seems set to deliver the integrated, personalized services that the company has pointed to as the ultimate payload of Google+.

Google Now finds a calendar item, for example, then calls up Google Maps to display in a tile the best route to reach the appointment and how long it will take. It might also learn from a user's search history that he or she is a fan of the San Francisco Giants, and could then display real-time scores for any ongoing games.

However, Google Now doesn't currently integrate with Google+.

So while the changes to Google+ haven't wowed Google watchers, Blau said the company was showing that it had begun to think socially in everything it does.

Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.


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