Google+ Gets Noise Filter, Photo Redesign, Pages Management

Google+ gets a number of improvements for the holiday season, including a redesigned photo application, administrative designations for Google+ Pages and improved notifications.

While Facebook's Timeline is rolling out to users in time for the new year, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is fitting a handful of features into its own social network in time for Christmas.

Over the next few days, Google+ users will be able to access a noise filter, a redesigned photo application, administrative designations for Google+ Pages and improved notifications.

First, the noise filter is a control that lets users fine-tune their Google+ Stream so that they don't miss posts from people they enjoy following most on the network. The tool sits atop the Stream as a "slider" that lets users tell their Stream to show no posts, fewer posts, most posts or every post from a specific stream.

"That way you'll never miss a post from that special someone, and you can tweak these settings to form your own 'perfect stream,'" explained Bradley Horowitz, vice president of products for Google+, in a corporate blog post.

Google also significantly improved the Google+ Photos application. When users view a photo in Lightbox, a JavaScript application that lets users click an image to have it magnified in a window, they will enjoy better navigation and comments.

Moreover, a new photo-tagging experience lets users "quickly focus on the people in your photos," according to Horowitz. See the Lightbox and tagging improvements in action here.

Google launched Google+ Pages for business brands in November, allowing companies, celebrities and organizations to tout themselves on Google+.

Thanks to user feedback, Google is now allowing brands to delegate as many as 50 managers as administrators who can lord over a brand Page. There is also a new "notification flow" so that managers of brands can gauge all the activity that takes place on a page. Think of it as a social media monitoring aid for Google+ business users.

Google said it will also show an aggregated count of users who have engaged with a brand page by +1'ing it or by adding it to a Circle. The idea is to give brands some quick and dirty feedback about who is visiting and engaging with their brand page.

Finally, Google added "sneak previews" for notifications that alert users to what's new and why it might be important, as well as the ability to see +1s and posts that have been shared since the user last checked.

Google has executed well over 150 feature additions or upgrades for Google+ since it launched the social network in June and is determined to end the year on a high note.

Just last week, the company upgraded Google+ Hangouts with the ability to start a hangout from any post on Google+, better on-air broadcasting tools and a Hangout button for the Google+ Messenger mobile group chat app.