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Google Apps Users Finally Get Google+
Google on Thursday announced a number of updates to its Google+ social network, including the ability to access the service via Google Apps.
Google+ is also getting a trending topics of sorts called "What's Hot," a feature that will let you track the popularity of posts, and a photo-editing tool.
On the Google Apps front, those who use the service for school, work, or at home can now integrate with Google+.
"Starting now you can manually turn on Google+ for your organization," Ronald Ho, a Google product manager, said in a blog post. "Once Google+ is turned on, your users will just need to sign up at google.com/+ to get started. For customers who use Google Apps for Business or the free version of Google Apps and who have chosen to automatically enable new services, Google+ will automatically become available to all of your users over the next several days."
The Google Apps version will have the same features as the regular Google+, with a few perks. "In addition to sharing publicly or with your circles, you'll also have the option to share with everyone in your organization, even if you haven't added all of those people to a circle," Ho wrote.
That might have been a useful feature for the Google engineer who recently sent out a rant intended for internal eyes only to his public feed.
About two dozen universities are adding Google+ to their Google Apps lineup today, including Wake Forest, Arizona State, and the University of Minnesota.
For those who started Google+ with a personal account but want to switch to their Google Apps account, Ho said Google was building a migration tool to help facilitate that.
"With this tool, you won't have to rebuild your circles, and people who've already added you to their circles will automatically be connected to your new profile," he wrote. "We expect this migration option to be ready in a few weeks, so if you'd like, you can go ahead and get started with your Apps account today and merge your connections once the tool is available."
Why wasn't this available when Google+ first launched? Ho said "it took more technical work than we expected," but promised to continue adding features along the way.
One of those new features is "What's Hot," which sounds similar to Twitter's trending topics. Users can access these hot topics in two areas—the "What's Hot" option on the left-hand bar, and the "What's Hot on Google+" link that will appear below all the posts in your stream. Clicking on either link will take you to a list of popular posts that are trending on the site. If there's one from a member you find interesting, add them to your Circles directly from the "What's Hot" page.
Want to see if your post is gaining in popularity? Google+ Ripples is a new visualization tool that shows you how your post was shared after you post to Google+, but you can also chart the activity of other public posts.
To view, pick a post and click "View Ripples." You can then "replay its activity, zoom in on certain events, identify top contributors and much more," Google said. "Google+ Ripples is still experimental, so let us know how we can make it more informative and more awesome."
Another feature coming to Google+ is Creative Kit, which is basically a simplified photo-editing tool. For a limited time, Google is adding Halloween-centric special effect options, and inviting users to submit their creations in a Google-run photo contest. Just tag your pics with the #gplushalloween hashtag on Google+, and a "surprise panel of celebrities" will choose a winner on November 3.