Happy Birthday to Google+, twhich celebrates its second birthday today. The social network that is steadily building up a head of steam as a conversation maker and builder for netizens, also has some new features for users, as older Google products are closed down. 

A Better Follow for More Followers

Google+ has come a long way in two years, with those early circles looking lost and forlorn for most users. But gradually, it has built up a decent head of a steam as a way to host hang-outs, events, conversations and grow connected groups of friends. 

That need to follow continues as the developers unveil a new "Follow" button that's a bit smarter and more interactive than the previous version. Only a little tweaking is required to get it up and running on your site and the results let your followers add you in the right place instantly. 

With Google planning to do more with social, possibly linking it into its smartwatch and rumored Android games plans, the rise of Google+ as a force to match Facebook and Twitter is not something to be taken lightly. 

Oh, We Do Need Some Badges

Another addition to Google+'s social arsenal is a new collection of badges for the many communities out there on the service, these can be easily configured by the community owners, as the in the example below. 


Note that users have 90 days to upgrade their existing badges to the new template before the old ones will start to be replaced. There's also a handy new option for users to move their photos between albums.

That said, Google is in the business of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Google Reader is closing down on 1 July, so make sure you've grabbed any data you need from that service.