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  • Thurston County ARC Agreement Now Official

    arc signing1A formal signing of the ARC ‘Letter of Intent’ took place Friday at the Accountability and Resource Center (ARC) with Thurston County Commissioners and Sheriff John Snaza. The agreement clears the way for the Thurston jail to open.… Read More +

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  • Lawmakers Celebrate Hawks Ahead Of Super Bowl

    Hawkington2The Washington state Senate passed a resolution honoring the Seattle Seahawks as they prepare to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. The resolution was passed Friday, and many lawmakers on the floor were wearing Seahawks jerseys,… Read More +

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  • Baker Signed To Minor-League Deal

    marinersSThe Seattle Mariners have signed catcher John Baker to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training. The Mariners announced the signing Thursday after Baker's physical. He is expected to compete with Jesus Sucre for the backup job playing behind starter Mike Zunino.

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Google Focuses on Better Photos and Chat in Google+ Update

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-10_41218e1ac8.jpgImeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Google's Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra revealed Tuesday that Google+ is far from calling it quits. "In the last four months, we pushed out 20 updates to Google+," he said at a press event. "But we're proud to announce that today, we're going to be introducing 18 more features."

Many of those updates improve Hangouts, Google+'s chat app that connects its users to one another. Users can now immediately share their location, thanks to Google Maps. Rather than hunt around for an address or copy and paste a long Google Maps URL, Hangouts lets users click on a button and upload their device's location information straight into the chat app. Hangouts also supports SMS messaging, so anyone without a smartphone can still chat with a Google+ user through text messages.

In addition to chatting through text, Google+ improved how users can chat with each other over Hangouts' video calls. When a user sets up a video chat, Google+ will automatically compensate for bad lighting, making sure that everyone is clear and visible in the chatroom. Furthermore, Google+ also included several filters for video chatters to play with.

For people who use their phones less for chatting and more for snapping and sharing photos, Google+ has a few tricks up its sleeve. Google+ will apply several touches automatically, like adjusting the lighting or enhancing a blurry spot. In addition, Gundotra announced that iOS users would also be able to automatically sync their photos to Google+ at their native resolution, a feature that was previously limited to Android users.

Gundotra alluded to improving Google+'s photo sharing service Google I/O conference this past May. In a not-so-subtle jab to Google+'s competitors, the presentation included a slide that compared the photo sizes of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+, with the Google+ entry dwarfing all the others. "We are not building a service for lightweight sharing where your image is degraded," he said.

The Hangouts app has more in common with iMessage, the iPhone's chat app, than it does with Facebook's chat system. The photo apps aren't looking for new ways to share photos, but new ways to make shared photos better quality. It seems that Google+ has changed its mission as a social network. It's no longer about sharing news and updates, but about taking many different apps and uniting them into a cohesive experience.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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