Google+ iOS, Android apps see major updates

Google+ is getting a facelift. 

Google
The Google+ mobile experience is getting a facelift. Here, a look at the ultra-low bandwidth mode of Hangouts, a group video chat feature.

More than a year after it went into wide launch, the mobile version of Google+, Mountain View's Facebook-killer, is getting a handful of major upgrades. 

Among them: the ability to instantly upload large photos from Android devices; on-the-go photo editing; improved event planning functionalities; inline, streaming photo albums on the Google+ iOS app; and a more democratic Hangouts experience.

"Today, we’re making it possible to connect with friends even in parts of the world with extremely low bandwidth," Google's Dave Besbris wrote in a blog post. "Once enabled, you'll only need about 150 KB of bandwidth to be in a hangout." 

The iOS and Android versions of the new Google+ app will go live later this month, Besbris said. 

In related news, Google recently announced that 500 million people have signed up for Google+, and that 235 million of those users are "active." On the Google blog, the company called Google+ "the fastest-growing network thingy ever." 

Of course, as Chris Davies of SlashGear is careful to stress, it's worth taking that 235 million figure with a grain of salt. 

"In fact," he writes, the figure "includes anybody who +1′s an app in Google Play, who uses Hangouts in Gmail, or who connects with their friends in search. Around 135m are active in the Google+ stream itself, still an impressive number."

By comparison, Facebook has over a billion users

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