Google+ for iOS update adds photo editing, enhancement options

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) released an updated version of its Google+ social networking application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, introducing a series of photo features bringing the app in line with its Android counterpart.

Highlights of Google+ for iOS version 4.4.0 include Auto Enhance, which automatically makes subtle image improvements, and Auto Highlight, which curates a collection of shots optimized for sharing as a separate album. Users may also share short animations, panoramas and other formats.

The revamped Google+ for iOS also touts new hashtag features designed to improve content discovery, interactive Google Offer posts in the user's content stream, expanded controls over how often What's Hot posts appear in streams and new editing options for profile fields and comments.

Google+ launched in mid-2011. The platform rivals Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) by giving users the flexibility to selectively share materials with friends and family sorted into circles. Google+ now ranks as the second-largest social platform worldwide with more than 500 million users but still trails far behind Facebook, which tops 1.1 billion monthly users across the globe, including 751 million mobile monthly active users.

Earlier this month, Google spun off Google+'s Hangouts video chatting service as a standalone Hangouts app also supporting text and image conversations. Hangouts--available for Android, iOS and the mobile Web--signals Google's response to the growing popularity of over-the-top messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) Messenger.

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