In February, Google+ unveiled app improvements that made it easier for users to access their other online iOS and Android apps more seamlessly and quickly through a new Google+ sign-in feature that allows users to tie their Google+ sign-in process to the sign-in processes for their most-used non-Google apps on their desktops or mobile devices.

Google+ has been around since June 2011, when it was started by the company as an online offering to compete with Facebook, or at least to give Google a piece of the social networking pie. Users were able to share events and news online with others in their “circles,” then connect with others in their friends’ circles, too.

In December 2012, Google introduced deeper social media features for its Google+ service by adding online communities where people can meet, discuss and share their passions on a wide variety of subjects, from sports to collecting to cooking and more. The new online communities included all kinds of interest groups, from cars to books to gardening and more. The communities can be set up to be open to anyone on Google+, or they can be private groups closed to the general public.

In August 2012, Google+ added some innovative tools for enterprises to try to bolster the appeal of Google+ for business users. The new Google+ features gave business users the ability to control who can see their posts on Google+, video conferencing that’s integrated with other Google Apps, and new administrative controls over posts and who can view them.

Follow Button

“The Google+ Follow button is a standalone plug-in that – as you might expect – lets visitors follow you from your site,” wrote Raj Iyengar, product manager of Google+, in a 28 June post on the Google+ Platform Blog. “It’s nice and compact, so it integrates easily with your existing social buttons.”

For developers who have already  added the +1 button for Google+ to their sites, no new coding is required to add the new plug-in, wrote Iyengar. “Just configure the plug-in, add the markup to your page, and you’re all set.”

Users can see the look and feel of the new Follow button on several Websites, including Celebuzz, Cooking Light, Fitness Magazine and Huffington Post, he wrote.

In addition, other new ways to attract visitors and followers to Websites were also unveiled by Google, including new badges for Google+ Communities to help customise a site’s appearance online, Iyengar wrote. “The new badges are highly configurable, making it easy to match your site design.”

The new badges will replace existing badge designs over time, but the old badges will continue to exist for up to 90 days, giving developers time to configure new badges for their Websites, he wrote. “After 90 days, we’ll automatically upgrade any Google+ badges to the new design.”

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Originally published on eWeek.

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Todd R. Weiss

Freelance Technology Reporter for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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