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Google+ update offers seasonal cheer through 18 new features: improves mobile apps, hangouts and events (updated)

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If Google+ communities didn't fix those social network blues you've been feeling recently, perhaps a bumper edition of new features will. When the mobile app update goes live later today, you'll be able to edit your profile through it as well being updated on what's happening through new content notifiers. Subscription options will also expand to include Google+ Communities. Google will now give full-sized image back-ups when uploaded (up to 5GB are yours for free), while any Android Jelly Bean users will be able to share their photospheres directly from the phone app. Support for gifs is also included, as well as birthday reminders in Google Now and a new lock screen widget.

Hangouts has been put on a data diet, and Google+ Vice President of Engineering, Dave Besbris reckons it should now offer a smoother experience even on low bandwidth connections -- you'll now need only 150KB to connect to Hangouts on this new setting. Only hanging out with yourself? Well the new interface won't show that depressing strip of black and will instead fill the screen with your own video.

In Events, you'll be able to send messages to individual guests, harass them check that they've read the invite and even invite more party-goers by inserting the event URL into emails or instant messages. It's also now easier to replicate your previous events and have Google fill in the rest of the details. You can expect the Android app update to hit your device later today, but until then, visit the source for Google's full explanation.

Update: Looks like iOS users will be getting a little more Google love this week. They'll also be getting a Google+ app update with community functionality and new conversation cards for shared content. Again, the refreshed version is set to arrive later today

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