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It's time for businesses to hang out on Google +

OVER the past week, Google announced that it is making a number of significant updates to Google Plus.

The changes are designed to retain its 190 million current active users as well as attract more regular users. Of course, Google's central idea is to close the gap on the social network giant that is Facebook.

If your business has a Google Plus account or page, you should use this to your advantage to ensure you continue to post and interact regularly as more users come online.

The key updates are as follows:

* You can now do live, free video calls with up to 10 friends at once in "hangout" and record them.

* There is a new auto upload of photos which allows you to store all your photos online for free.

* They've included some additional photo-editing tools as well as a video-maker function that can let you create videos from your photos.

* The news stream has updated to become more animated with larger photos and adjusts the number of columns based on the device.

However, possibly the most significant change made is in the introduction of hashtags.

Google Plus will suggest hashtags to you that they feel are related to your post so that you can potentially get your posts in front of all Google Plus users – and hence dramatically increase the reach of your business.

Irish Independent