Google+ LogoGoogle has rolled out new features and improving on old ones left and right. The latest batch of updates comes from Google+ and a complete overhaul of Google Reader. Since Google is striving to integrate their services into Google+ as much as possible, making Reader more Google+ friendly is key to being able to keep everyone in the loop.

While we covered how to share from Google Reader to Google+ recently, the changes Google is planning to make with how these two services work together is going to make it much easier for everyone.

The company has also added hashtags as well as real-time search to Google+. Rumors circulating around the web have also pinpointed a time in the coming weeks when Google will finally allow users to pick their username, similar to Facebook and Twitter.

How do Google+ hashtags work

Google+ hashtags work the same way they do on Twitter for those of you familiar with that social network. Hashtags allow you to “tag” updates in order for others to easily find them. On Twitter, for example, the most used hashtags are often showcased on the front page of the site to give visitors an idea of what everyone is talking about.

The hashtag phenomenon picked up speed when Twitter became a popular way to update one another on what was going on in the world and with them. For most sites on the Internet, hashtags are used by utilizing a “#” in front of the term you want to use. So, for example, on Google+, #RIPSteveJobs is still in use to talk about the late Steve Jobs and his work with Apple.

Google+ hashtags in action

Anyone on Google+ can now search for “#RIPSteveJobs” and see not only the hashtag but also search terms related to it which ties into the real-time search results the site has implemented.

How does real-time search work in Google+

Google+ also rolled out a real-time search feature for the social network. If you are looking for a user on Google+, you can type in their name and the results will begin filtering down in a drop down menu.

Google+ real time search results for users

You can then click on who you are looking for from the list.

If you search for a term, such as “VikiTech” and click “Enter.” You will be given a list of real-time results as people are posting them. As people post new results with your search term, you will be alerted to it so you can refresh the results.

Google+ real time search results for topic

When you do a real-time search, you are given four options to sort through. You can go through Everything, People, Google+ posts and Sparks. Each of these gives you an easier way to sort results until you are finding what you are looking for.

You can also click on “Best of” and “Most recent.” Best of will give you what Google thinks are the best results for your term. Most recent will give you the most recent results on your search topic.

At the top of your search, you can also click “Save this search” to come back to it later or see new results.

What can you expect from the new Google Reader?

Google Reader is getting a makeover, similar to other Google services. We recently covered the overhaul to Gmail which made the service even sleeker, and we expect nothing less from the Google Reader makeover.

The biggest development in Google Reader is the integration with Google+. The majority of Google Reader’s sharing and social features will be available through Google+. Following, Friending, Sharing Links and more will be obsolete in Google Reader as you use Google+ to take care of all of that.

For those that do not want to utilize Google Reader with Google+, they will be able to export more than just the traditional settings you are used to doing in Reader. You will now be able to export shared items, friends, likes and starred items in addition to your subscriptions.

On the Google Reader official blog, Alan Green said: “In the next week, we’ll be making some highly requested changes to Google Reader. We’re going to introduce a brand new design that we hope you love. Second, we’re going to bring Reader and Google+ closer together, so you can share the best of your feeds with just the right circles.”

When Google releases the new Reader, rest assured we will cover the developments in full to give the scoop on changes, improvements and how well it works with Google+.

Will Google add username support in the future?

For the last few weeks, rumors have been circling around when Google was going to allow users to choose usernames. With the development, evolution and constant additions to Google services, it seems like the time is here for Google+ to let you choose your own username. Confirmation of the addition of usernames came from Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. He said that usernames would be allowed soon but he would not give more details than that.

Since Google is working hard to integrate all its services, chances are this would take a bit of an overhaul of the login system to begin with. Google has always taken its time to truly develop features before making them available and the use of usernames with its services will be well worth the time.

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