Social network and groups

Lovey-dovey detection algorithm puts hearts on Google+ photos

For Valentine's Day, Google is adding animated hearts to photos of hugging and kissing on Google+.

"Just upload a photo of kissing or hugging, and Google Photos will add hearts automatically," said Google+ photo team member Vincent Mo in a Google+ post Thursday night.

Google already throws a lot of server horsepower at photos shared on its social network, automatically editing them for better tonality and smoother skin, but its "auto-awesome" technology also identifies subject matter deemed suitable for seasonal special effects. During the holidays, the company added snowflakes to snow scenes and sparkling to … Read more

Google+ Photos caters to pixel peepers and HDR fans

There's plenty of justified irritation that people pore over a photo's every pixel when from an aesthetic point of view, you'd be better off judging the whole work.

But if you're editing photos, it's definitely useful to zoom to 100 percent when checking things like focus or noise levels, which is why it's notable Google added that ability to its Google+ photo-editing app.

Google's Andre Meyer announced the feature Friday on Google+ -- along with one that's probably more controversial, a new HDR filter called HDR Scape.

HDR stands for high dynamic … Read more

Ex-CEO picks up where Opera left off, launching Vivaldi site

What's an ex-CEO to do when he thinks his former employer has taken the wrong path?

In the case of Jon S. von Tetzchner, co-founder and former chief executive of Opera Software, the answer is to launch a company that picks up where the old company is leaving off. He and 19 other ex-Opera employees have launched a new site called Vivaldi aimed at people who want a replacement for the My Opera community site, which Opera is closing on March 1.

"What we have decided is we cannot leave users like that. This a group of people … Read more

Google's Picasa software backs up photos from PCs to Google+

Google wants Google+ to be the home for all your photos, and it's just begun a new effort to get them there.

The new step involves an update to its earlier-era Picasa photo software, which lets OS X and Windows users edit photos and upload them to Google's Picasa Web Albums site. The update includes a utility called Google+ Auto Backup that copies photos from people's PCs to Google's newer Google+ photo service.

The software arrived offers to back up photos from various pictures folders and from cameras or memory cards connected to the computer. People … Read more

Google+ technology arrives in new interactive ad format

PARIS -- Google+ advertising has arrived -- but not on the Google+ social network.

The ads, called +Posts, use Google+ technology, with the ability to combine video and imagery with the Google+ commenting system. But they're delivered through Google's display ad network, not on the Google+ pages themselves.

"It's a new means of engaging users over the Google display network," Google+ leader Bradley Horowitz said at the LeWeb show here, promoting the new ad technology that debuted Tuesday. "It allows for much richer engagement as opposed to just a display ad or traffic-generation ad.&… Read more

Did you like last night's episode? Facebook wants to help media companies find out

PARIS -- People who use Facebook to rant or rave about the latest TV show might soon have more of an audience than their social-network contacts.

For companies that produce entertainment content or that have brands to promote, the conversations people have about them on Facebook are mostly invisible today, said business development vice president Chris Daniels said at the LeWeb conference here. Now the company is working to give brands and media companies a better way find those conversations so they can engage.

"We know people are talking about TV, movies, and media on Facebook. We know it'… Read more

Twitter VP: employees don't care that the IPO made them rich

PARIS -- What was it like at Twitter the day it went public, producing an office full of millionaires? Ho-hum, according to Michael Sippey, vice president of the company's products.

"People don't care about it. I don't care," he said, speaking at the LeWeb conference here. The day of the initial public offering, the San Francisco staff showed up at 6 a.m., watched the stock begin public trading, and, at 7:30 a.m., got back to work.

He insisted Twitter's core mission is what gets people to show up at the office.… Read more

Google+ gets sophisticated array of photo editing tools

With an update to Google+, Google has transformed online photo editing from a technology that's mostly ignorable to one that's genuinely useful.

Google has built its Snapseed photo-editing technology into Google+, and it adds an impressively wide range of sophisticated, customizable, easy-to-use adjustments to the service.

The company has been steadily improving Google+ photo tools in recent months, for example with the "auto awesome" features for enhancing photos and automatically constructing animations out of sequences of similar photos. But the newest photo editing changes, which Google+ photos product manager Josh Haftel announced Wednesday night, are a … Read more

WordPress folds in Google+ for authentication, comments

WordPress, the widely used blogging system, has built in Google+ technology that will let publishers use the service for authentication, comments, and sharing.

The deal, announced Monday, spreads Google's influence into a Web site that's very widely used for blogs and other self-publishing needs. Even as it elevates the profile of Google's social-networking technology, though, it also lowers barriers between Google+ and other parts of the Web.

Here's how WordPress' Justin Shreve described the deal:

Linking to your Google+ Profile creates an official connection between your content and your Google+ account. The benefit? It … Read more

Full-size photos arrive for real on Google+

Google now lets Google+ users override a setting that limited photos they uploaded to a maximum width or height of 2,048 pixels, a move that photo enthusiasts will welcome but that will mean people will have to keep a closer eye on how much data they have stored at Google.

Previously, Google+ photos were limited unless they were uploaded automatically from an Android device using Google's software, or unless people embarked on a somewhat complicated workaround using Google's Picasa photo editing and cataloging software. Now, by changing Google+ settings, people can upload full-resolution photos through the usual … Read more