‘What’s Hot’? Google+ Adds ‘Ripples’ Feature and More

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It’s taken a few months, but Google+ is finally rolling out its version of Twitter’s “trending topics” feature, with the somewhat unimaginative title of “What’s Hot.” But the truly interesting new feature introduced is Ripples, which visualizes how things get shared across the burgeoning network.

Both features were introduced via the official Google blog yesterday, with What’s Hot described as “a new place to visit for interesting and unexpected content” outside of the personal filter provided by friends and family already included in your Circles. “Sometimes you want to know what the world is so excited about,” explained SVP of Engineering Vic Gundotra.

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Something that’s closer to actually being exciting is Ripples, which Gundotra wrote was a way to “help people re-live… conversations – both to rekindle that initial excitement, and to learn how posts flow across the network.”

The “still experimental” feature allows you to view the activity around any public Google + post, purely by selecting “View Ripples.” Check out the above video to see how it works.

Google also introduced the Google+ Creative Kit—a limited photo-edit software within the network—and the ability to access Google+ for all Google Apps customers in yesterday’s announcements. Google+ may remain the social network that most people have already forgotten exists, but it’s clearly trying hard to change that.

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Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.