A Summary of Releases from the Google IO Conference 2013Google’s developers have been busy it seems! For the past two days, the sixth annual Google I/O Conference 2013 has been pushing forward with full force.

This conference is one of the most highly-anticipated and highly-attended developer conferences each year and Google makes the most of it by debuting new products and major product changes.

The scene has been much the same this year as in the past. While Google didn’t release any new hardware, there have been many changes to their current services, which I summarized in the list below.

New Design and Features for Google+

Google made over 41 changes and additions to Google+, most prominently giving the social network’s design a major overhaul. Many are pointing to the similarities between Google+’s and Pinterest’s designs, because of the use of cards as the primary organization tool.

Depending on the size of your screen or the device you’re using, Google+ will now show two to three columns by default in the main stream (there is a way to return to the single stream if desired).

You can get a look at the new design in the video below!

Also new to Google+ are the way hashtags are handled. Google+ now automatically adds related hashtags to posts, making it easier for users to see information related to the hashtag and to get involved in conversations.

How the hashtags function in the new design can be seen in the video below.

Perhaps the most interesting of the major features additions to Google+ is the enhanced photo editing.

  • Auto Awesome: Takes a set of photos in your library and attempts to automatically create a GIF.
  • Auto Backup: Backs up your mobile photos automatically as they’re taken.
  • Auto Highlight: Helps find your best photos by tagging duplicates, blurry photos, poor exposure, etc.
  • Auto Enhance: A filter that improves brightness, saturation, etc. on photos.

Unified Chat Messaging

Google has made an effort to combine their multiple chat services into one, this time integrating the chat functions in Gmail, Google+, Android and iOS devices, and Google Chrome.

You’re now able to chat from any of these venues and retain all chat history and contacts in a single location.

New Google Maps for Mobile

Google Maps will be getting the most significant upgrade since its introduction eight years ago. The general theme surrounding the new Maps is, “Every person gets their own map, every time.”

Essentially, Google is customizing personalized Maps for every individual based on places they frequently visit, which is determined by data from Google+ posts and past use of Maps.

New Google Maps Released

What’s really cool is when you visit a new city, Google Maps will automatically recommend places you should visit based on your preferences and the types of places you frequent in your hometown.

Additionally, Maps allows you to view users’ photos from various locations and see inside hundreds of thousands of local businesses. There will also be improved public transit directions and easier-to-navigate ratings of venues.

Google Play All Access

Last, but not least, Google revealed their new music-streaming service: Google Play All Access.

Like Spotify, this service allows users to stream unlimited amounts of music rather than downloading it and it also integrates a Pandora-like feature — choose any song to make a radio station and Google will automatically populate the playlist with similar music.

What do you think about these changes and releases from Google? Did any specific news coming out of I/O excite you?