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  • 2015 Budget Presentation, YES or NO

    MC logo moneyThe Mason County preliminary 2015 Budget has been distributed. Now comes the hard work, getting the forecasted $33,647,430 in county current expense spending closer to the expected (forecasted) revenues of $26,642,576, allotted to pay for the 2015 current expenses… Read More +

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  • UW Criticizes Med School Study

    asklepianEDITThe University of Washington is criticizing a deeply flawed study released last week that supports the creation of a new medical school in Spokane by rival Washington State University. A press release from the Seattle university on Monday says the study… Read More +

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  • San Diego Over Hawks

    seahawks blueAntonio Gates had three touchdown catches and the San Diego Chargers controlled the tempo to keep Seattle's offense off the field and upset the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks 30-21 Sunday. Gates' 21-yard catch late in the third quarter was epic, as the star tight end split two defenders and extended for Philip Rivers' pass, reaching out with his left hand to gather it in.

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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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