Google Plus Adds Facebook & Twitter-Like Content Discovery Features October 28, 2011 by Brett Prince As promised, Google Plus just got a few more new features to make your social experience a little more fun. Google has just announced What’s Hot, a new feature that highlights popular posts within the network (don’t even think trending), and has also launched a conversation visualization tool called Ripples that allows you to take a look at Plus conversions and how they connect with users across the network. These are two very complementary features that set Google Plus apart from the pack, especially with Ripples. Will we see 3rd party social measurement tools pulling Ripples data through the Google Plus API? Google Plus has boasted their photo features for awhile now, specifically their instant uploading feature from Android phones, and Google continues to enhance their photo features with new photo editing tools packaged together as Creative Kit. You will now be able to edit your photos and add filters to enhance them in a variety of different ways. Google Plus: What’s Hot? Google’s new What’s Hot feature appears beneath new posts within your main stream and is also positioned in the Sparks area on the left sidebar. Google had a concern with the amount of time that users were spending on Plus (not enough) and aimed to make discovering content a much easier process. This has been accomplished algorithmically, and also is a huge complement to Google’s real-time search tool – especially with Twitter updates no longer being present in Google’s search results. Social discovery is now much like similar features within Facebook and Twitter. Ripples: Mapping Conversation Ripples is a stunningly sexy feature that allows you to visually follow the path of a conversation. It also incorporates quick analytics, giving you an idea of total shared content and publically shared content. This mapping feature offers a hell of a lot more information about a post up front than any other social network. If we consider Google’s approach, they want to make data and information accessible, but in a quick, easy to use way. What better way than to use a visual representation of both information and data? This has also been seen recently with the introduction of a flow visualization tool from Google’s Analytics Team. Features like this will bring social conversion to the next level for Google Plus business pages. Creative Kit: Making Photos Fun! Google loves talking stats, and also loves that more than 3.4 billion photos have been uploaded to Google Plus. This is a favourite success metric. Google wanted to make uploading photos immediate, so when Android users (who have enabled Google Plus) snap a photo, it will upload to their Plus account automatically. These photos are kept unpublished and private until the user chooses to share them with others on Plus, making them instantly available on command. Uploads are one thing, but shared photos is a much more social metric to measure. The Creative Kit feature has given Plus users tools to customize their photos, which will likely result in more photo sharing as user excitement grows for photo manipulation. Apart from trendy filters and Halloween gimmicks, Plus users have useful tools and creative tools to do a lot more with photos. These photo edited tools are presently available for desktop use only, but we all know these features will be coming to mobile apps at some point. What do you think? Has Google taken social content discovery to the next level with What’s Hot and Ripples?