Among the contributing members of a burgeoning online social media culture, Google Plus (or Google +) has been hailed as somewhat of a straggler; a platform continually lagging behind in the contribution of offerings for user experience and features that have made its counterparts infinitely more successful.

It seems now, though, with reports of more than 170 million* people now using the platform, Google+ have started to contribute to the growing social media ripple effect now saturating every corner of digital online living.

Here are just a few of Google’s new developmental contributions that are looking to set their social media offering on a track tangential to the one that almost led them to ruin. At DStv Online, we’ve followed the progression closely, and some simply ground-breaking developments have come to light. That’s more like it, Google!

*(as quoted from: ‘Inside Google Plus’, available at: http://insidegplus.com/2012/04/google-plus-more-improvements/, [Accessed: 04/07/2012])

Integrated Google Maps

In what seems utter pioneering attitude, Google have embraced a tradition of seamlessly integrating their existing technology with the Google+ interface.

This step has come with the very nifty introduction of geographic location technology – in the form of Google Maps – that accompanies all user interactions and uploads. With it, the user can search and share information, and find products and services quicker, easier and more accurately. You the marketer, in return, can be assured of the increased visibility and promotion of your business or institution.

Navigation: Ease In Dynamism

Dynamism, here, is the operative word. Gone are the days of a strictly static Google+ navigation. What’s dawned is the dynamic function of a constantly changing application channel on the left of the interface and, with it, comes a slew of impressive new features.

Listing from Inside Google Plus, ‘Google plus more improvements’, these changes include features that let you: ‘….drag apps up or down to create the order you want…hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions…show or hide apps by moving them in and out of ‘More’.’

Hangouts: Better Live Interaction

Google+ ‘Hangouts’ have become somewhat of a star-child for the Google family social media platform. It’s a facet so different to what other platforms have, that it now exists as a truly unique feature to the Google+ universe.

It is, having said that, then only right for Google to polish this particular facet to a high and lustrous shine. Some improvements here, according to ‘Google plus more improvements,’ include: ‘…an always updated list of invitations from people in your circles…quick access to every public and on-air hangout…a rotating billboard of popular hangouts…’

Google+ ‘Hangouts’ provide the very unique feature of universal connection. These new improvements create an easier way of meeting new people, or simply never missing a chance to hangout online with a group of close friends.

Some Influential Google ‘Plussers’

If the confluence and seamless integration of existing Google features with the ‘Plus’ forum aren’t evident enough of the platform’s solid recent online traction, the myriad of influential people who have embraced Google+ may reinforce that ten-fold.

Inside Google Plus have released a list of statistics documenting the top 25 ‘Plus’ users commanding the most followers. The esteemed alumni includes the likes of computer scientist, Larry Page, with 642,020 followers, Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, with 603,179 followers and even Britney Spears with 595,164 followers.

The list goes on to mention an eclectic gathering of influential people, and exists as showcase to the fact that Google+, with its improvements and shiny new features, could now be rising as a formidable, and highly credible, social media contributor…and it’s about time.

Do you use Google+? If so, what are your thoughts on the recent developments and improvements? Let us know!