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Google has upgraded picture, video and Hangout functions that will be added to its Google+ social network – and claim that numbers of its active users have been underreported.

"With 540 million people active across Google each month, 300 million people active in just the stream and more than 1.5 billion photos uploaded every week, the Google+ community is growing faster than we ever could have imagined," said Vic Gundotra, senior veep of engineering at Google in posting on the site.

All those photos take some finding, and Gundotra showed the ad giant's image-recognition code can now recognize at least a thousand named objects that can be searched using voice or text input. New picture enhancements are applied automatically to deal with over and underexposure, but this can be switched off where needed.

For action shots, Google+ can now stitch together multiple photos into a strobe-effect photograph, and there is a new Eraser tool that can take out unwanted sections of an image, such as a passerby who ruined your shot. Photos can also be run together in a movie montage with a royalty-free backing track.

Google+ can also combine short movie clips into one single film – a feature dubbed Auto Awesome Movie. Here's how you should all be using Google+, according to the web giant:

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Sadly that feature is only available on some Android 4.3 devices, so the vast majority of fandroids will have to wait for an update before they try it.

Video-chat Hangouts on Google+ are also getting some upgrades. Mobile and desktop users can see sessions in full screen and lighting is automatically adjusted for a better image. Participants can also add location information and SMS data, and broadcasters can schedule hangouts on a "dedicated watch page" and eject or mute participants.

The photo and movie enhancements will be rolled out this week, with the changes to Hangouts coming in the next few weeks. ®

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