Google+ gets updates for both the Android and iOS mobile apps today as the social service adds a bunch of new tricks, with improved photo, connection and hangout features. 

On With the Show

After all the fuss yesterday about the return of Google's Maps app to iOS, its a more sedate update from the company for the Google+ social networking apps. Still, there's a fair bit to get excited about as the iOS app hits version 4.0 and the Android app reaches 3.3.

The iOS update adds Google+ Communities, the ability to subscribe to any circle for notifications, setting participant numbers and time zones for events, making edits to your profile and tweaks to the user interface. The Android app adds full backup to Google+ cloud, improved mobile notifications and more. 

With Events, you can now send messages to specific guests and keep track of who has opened their invites. Guests can RSVP with the number of people they’re bringing to events and times zones mean no more international uncertainty. 


Events are now easier to plan

A Growing Sense of Community

As it tries to differentiate itself from Facebook and other services more, Google+ is increasingly relying on Communities and Hangouts to do this. Communities launched earlier this month, allowing public or private membership of groups based on topics of interest to you or your business, while Hangouts allow for video group chats and live events to be shown.

As Facebook continues to try to sort out Instagram and fight Twitter, now is surely a good time for Google to start hyping these features as far and wide as possible, and encouraging people to switch and try something a little different.