Google+ adds new tools, including making movies out of photos, videos

Users of the Google+ social network will now be able to easily make movies out of photos and videos they took while on vacation or at an event.

The new feature, called Auto Awesome Movie, is essentially a highlight reel of users’ videos and images shot during a single outing. The feature automatically adds music, filters and enhances each shot to create a video clip that users can share with their friends on Google+.

Auto Awesome Movie was among more than a dozen new Google+ features that Google announced Tuesday as a way to boost usage of its online social networking service.

“Imagine if Google did all this while you were living life,” said Vic Gundotra, head of Google+ at a press event Tuesday morning.

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Gundotra said Google+ can create Auto Awesome Movie on its own and send users a notification when the movie is finished or users can prompt the social network to make one by selecting pictures and videos they want to have included.

Users can also go in and edit Auto Awesome Movie after Google+ creates them. The social network allows users to select the duration of the clip, the filters used and the kind of music that is played.

Although Auto Awesome Movie was the highlight of the event, Gundotra also announced many other new features for Google+.

Gundotra said iPhone users with the Google+ app will soon be able to back up their photos at their full resolution. He also said the iPhone app will soon be able to back up photos automatically -- currently, the social network only does this when users first open the app.

Snapseed, a Google-owned photo editing app, will also be updated with a new HDR filter that drastically improves the quality of some photos. During Gundotra’s presentation, the Google executive took a photo of a poorly lit carousal, applied the filter, and amazed the crowd with a transformed image showing a colorful carnival ride. Gundotra said the feature won’t fix all photos, such as ones with people’s faces, but he said the effect is useful for photos of landscapes and structures.

The social network’s Hangouts app and feature has also been beefed up.

Users can now easily share their locations with others by simply tapping an icon; they can use it to send animated GIFs and they can integrate their text messages into the app. And when users plan a broadcast hangout, Google will now create a landing page for the discussion that organizations can use to promote the event. Other broadcast tools have also been added, such as the ability to lower a specific user’s volume.

Additionally, all video calls will now be in HD video and they’ll also have Auto Awesome effects applied. That means that if you are video chatting with a friend and they aren’t very well lighted, Google+ will automatically improve how they appear on the video.

In total, Gundotra said Google+ is getting 18 new features. He also said the social network has now grown to more than 300 million monthly active users.

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Here’s how to tune in live to watch Google’s announcement event