Google+ updated; 300M active users claimed

|By:, SA News Editor

When it comes to Google+, Google (GOOG +1.6%) is nothing if not persistent. Ten months after 18 new features (many of them photo-centric) were added to the social networking platform, several more photo-related features have been added. Among them: automatic full-size iOS photo backups, HDR image filters, and new photo-enhancement tools.

Google also boasts Google+ now has 300M monthly active users (MAUs), up from 190M six months ago and 135M in Dec. 2012. To address critiques that many Google+ "users" are simply people clicking on +1 buttons, Google says the MAUs in question accessed a Google+ news feed.

Though Google+'s user base is still much smaller than Facebook's (1.15B MAUs at the end of Q2), and daily engagement rates are doubtlessly lower, the latest figure points to gradual progress for Google's social networking platform, which has been integrated with sites and apps throughout the Web giant's empire.

Also: Google has added SMS support to its Hangouts apps. The apps, which bundle together Google's various IM, voice, and video chat tools, compete in a mobile messaging landscape featuring Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, BlackBerry, and others.

Earlier: Google's smartwatch, Motorola's modular phone project