Google+ adds a bunch of new features, iOS app updates and Android updates

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Google has added 24 new features to its Google+ service and updated its beautiful Android and iOS apps in yet another show of commitment to the social network.

Despite issues with getting people to spend a lot of time on Google+, Google claims 500 million users have upgraded to Google+ accounts, while 235 million are actively using Google+ features (like +1-ing apps or following friends in Google searches.) The company says 135 million users are actively using the Google+ stream proper. So it makes sense to keep refining the network.

For coordinating holiday gatherings, Google+ has added new event-planning features. Through Google+ Events, you can send messages to specific guests and see who’s viewed your invitation. There’s also a way to invite people by simply putting a link to your Google+ event into an email. Guests can also RSVP for how many people they will be bringing.

If someone can’t make your event, you can have them attend a Google+ “Hangout,” the social network’s version of group video chat. Handily, Google+ Hangouts now can run on lower bandwidth so even more people can try it. You only need 150 KB of bandwidth to take part in a session.

And here’s a list of what’s new in Google+’s updated Android app:

• New feature: Google+ Communities
• Support for full resolution photo uploads via Instant Upload
• Subscribe to any circle for notifications
• Support for time zones in Events
• Basic profile editing
• Integration with Google Now to send birthday wishes to friends
• Support for animated GIFs
• Express your mood via animated images in posts
• View and explore Photo Sphere images (Android 4.2+)
• Add the Google+ widget to your device’s lock screen (Android 4.2+)

The iOS app’s update isn’t quite so extensive, but it’s still seeing some decent changes. You can now:

• Swipe through photo albums inline
• Tap once to view photos in all their glory
• Now applies a subtle pan-zoom-scale effect to pictures in the stream

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