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What Google’s got in store

This week saw the annual Google I/O Developer's Conference held in San Francisco, a hotly anticipated event where marketers, tech heads and journalists scramble to get the scoop on the latest Google gossip and gadgets.

True to form Google unveiled a host of new features across its suite of products – covering everything from Google Maps to Gaming APIs. Here's a rundown of the biggest announcements. 

Google+ gets pretty, and 41 other features

Google loves tinkering the Google+ and went all out this time, adding a whopping 41 new features to the platform.

The new look G+ looks great and now boasts a multi-column layout for displaying images and related hashtags. Photos can now be used to create GIFs and hashtags have become more personalised, so if a user is following a brand G+ will automatically tag them. 

Android and Chrome growth

Over the past year there have been 900 million Android activations, more than double the 400 million activations announced at last year's conference. While the numbers are big they still lag behind Apple's 50 billion iOS app downloads. 

Chrome continues to steam ahead. The world's most popular browser has 750 million active users, up 300 million from 2012. Chrome also now has voice commands capability, with users able to ask locations of nearby businesses. 

Hangouts gets a stand-alone app

It's no secret the best part of G+ is Hangouts, the free video chat service. Google will soon launch a stand-alone Hangouts app for web, Android and iOS that will let users video chat, send texts and images with their Google contacts. 

Our bet is Microsoft-owned Skype is watching the Hangouts app's progress very carefully.

Google Maps overhaul

It's been awhile since Google Maps has had an overhaul, and the new design looks stunning.

Google Maps now incorporates data from Google Earth and Street View, displays user-generated images and has been loaded with new features for brands.

Zagat badges and restaurant reviews now show in tailoured maps, while offers from retailers now appear based on location. Google Maps also studies user behaviour and now makes recommendations for local businesses and attractions.   

To follow the Google I/O Developer's Conference visit developers.google.com.

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