Google Plus was noted by the company's senior vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra to be the "fastest-growing network thingy ever" in a post on the official Google blog, where more than 500 million people have upgraded and 235 million are active across Google.
Mr Gundotra said that this enthusiasm comes from the "building tools" provided that help to build real relationships, through live hangouts, a photo or with an inner circle of friends.
On December 7, Google announced the launch of two new improvements that would help bring the "nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software" with the introduction of Google Plus Communities and Snapseed.
If you have a passion for music, art, film, food or other lesser known interests, you can share your thoughts and activities with like-minded people on Google Plus Communities.
This is similar to Facebook Groups, providing a gathering place for people to share their common interests, with public and private membership options available.
You can also connect with people on a 'real' level, with the options to plan events with community members and start hangouts, which are face-to-face virtual chats.
Discussion categories are also available so you can locate the conversations you are most interested in, with the ability to also share with your community from any +1 button.
Snapseed – 2011's iPad app of the year – has also been made available for Android, available now from Google Play and the App Store.
Users are encouraged to "Snap It. Tweak It. Love It. Share It.", capturing stunning pictures with their smartphone or other capable device, touching it up and then sharing their image with friends on Google Plus.
The creators of Snapseed, Nik Software, were recently welcomed to the Google family, with its app allowing users to use creative filters such as vintage and drama, and take advantage of Control Point technology to selectively enhance a photo.
Posted by April Revake.