Google has really revved its Google+ engine in this second full week of the new year.
One day after I discussed the new Google+ photo meme feature and auto-complete search for hashtags, the company has rolled out a handful of new tools to refine the user experience.
I'm going to start with my favorite: the ability to join conversations from search results on Google+ by sharing to a topical stream. Do a search for, say, Android and get the results.
You can choose to make a post right from the results by clicking the "join the discussion about android prompt:
When you post from a results page, your submission includes a link back to the original search stream to enable others to engage in the conversation.
Why do I like this feature so much? This has the potential to have Twitter-like conversation and Circle discovery effects, especially if people use hashtags throughout as breadcrumbs.
Next up, is a self-reflexive communications feature: the ability to record a video of yourself with your computer webcam and share it via Google+.
Click in a share box in your Google+ stream, click the video icon in the share box and then select record video like so:
Make sure to grant Flash access to your camera, to begin recording.
When finished, the video appears as an attachment to the post and may be shared. You can leave little video diaries if you like. This has the potential to become annoying fast, but some people will like it.
Google also pre-announced two new mobile Web app features for Google+: the What's Hot stream, which replaced the Sparks popular trends link on the desktop version months ago, and the ability to see who +1'd a post, which is always a Google+ favorite. Check them out in this video:
Google, which said these two tools are coming to the Google+ Android app, iOS app and the Web app, explained:
"With What's Hot, you can now see some of the most interesting content being shared on Google+ with a flick of your thumb. To use it, just swipe to the right of your Circles stream. To see who +1'd a post in the stream, just click on the +1 count underneath the post."