It is exciting to see what the future has in store for our social media networks, especially the underdog, Google Plus. Launched back in the summer of 2011, it was widely categorized as unfinished and unpopular. Now, Google Plus has reached one billion user accounts!

The Google+ community in this active social network is thriving, and it’s all thanks to Google’s constant iterations and consideration of feedback. The new features consistently rolling out stand above the rest to the benefit of individuals, social circles, and small businesses.

For businesses large and small, the advantages are so numerous that we decided to list the latest updates in one precise post. Are you ready to hit the market strong with Google Plus this year? Check out the features below that you can leverage for your business:

1. Landing Pages for Hangouts on Air

Use the new dedicated landing page to schedule live Google+ Hangouts with your audience! Create specific group chats, or create pages that offer a spot for countdowns, video promotions, trailers, and RSVP placement.

Hangouts on Air (video)

2. Video Boosted to HD for your Hangouts

Enabling HD quality video lowers the need to download third party software. This strategy increases collaboration between employees and companies. The free and improved video quality doesn’t hurt either!

 3. Location Sharing for your Hangouts App

Use the location sharing feature to make sure you know where your team is at all times. Communicate and connect with anyone in your circles, all from a single mobile application.

 4. Improved Photo Search

Find images even faster with Google Plus’s improved photo search capabilities! You will be able to find more images to credit for your blog posts (with our without tags!).

 5. Upload Full Resolution Images to your iOS Device

Looking to get sharper marketing photos for your campaigns without sacrificing the photo quality? Keep your resolution intact when you upload photos using your iOS mobile device for your website’s marketing.

 6. SMS Integration with Google Hangouts for Android

Send messages to your audience over Google Hangouts to alert them of new promotions, contests, and product updates. With SMS, you and your customers are more connected than ever!

7. Increased Cover Photo Extension across your Google Plus Page

If your cover image was stifled before, it has more than enough room to shine this time around. The increased real estate gives your business page a more unique personality, to the benefit of your followers and your page promotion.

8. New Google Plus Email Feature

You can now email anyone in your circles without knowledge of the individual’s email address. You can send messages to the circles that are relevant to your business.

9. Updated Google Plus Explore

Pay attention to the Google Plus Explore stream to discover relevant content and trends. It is heavily tailored to what your circles share, so that you can create more content ideas and hopefully see an increase in your engagement levels.

10. Launch of Google Hummingbird

Google Hummingbird is an update to the Google algorithm, which handles queries that are more “human” and semantic in form. Focus  your site content to be read by human eyes for a bigger boost in the Google search engine.

11.  Google Adds Secure Search

Data collection on keywords went out the window when Google announced its secure search update. Now that keyword data is no longer publicly available, focus your efforts on researching what types of questions people are asking online and how you can provide solutions through quality content.

12. +Post Ads Announcement

Reach new customers with the upcoming +Post Ads for your business page. This is a big opportunity to connect your targeted clients with Google+ content and your brand message.

13. Google Panda and Penguin Updates

Google is putting the brakes on spammy sites with its Panda and Penguin updates. Keep your site clean and spam-free to make your site well-ranked.

14. Authorship Optimization

The process to achieve authorship is a very simple one, meaning it makes authorship much easier for spammers to take advantage. Google has taken the initiative to eliminate authorship for people producing low-value content. In other words, your authorship status is more valuable.

15. Google+ Integrated YouTube Commenting System

To reduce spam in YouTube comments, Google allows you to integrate your Google Plus page with the discussions you participate in. This addition is the perfect opportunity to spread your page’s influence to different groups of people who view similar content.

16. Google Plus Custom URLs

Do you want to make it easier for your audience to find you and achieve higher search results? Claim your custom URL today for increased visibility and faster connection with customers.

17. Google Helpouts Debut

If your team is stuck on a feature for Google Plus, it is now easier than ever to get assistance by attending Google Helpouts. Find live help so your questions are answered in the blink of an eye!

18. Improved Google+ Local Interface

Your Google Plus Local interface now connects to your Google Plus for Business profile. The interface is much easier and simpler to navigate and make changes to your business listings.

19. Google+ Hashtags

Find relevant content through typing hashtags into the Google search engine. This searches for hash-tagged content from within Google Plus.

20. Google Plus Sign In

Get more data on your customers by using Google Plus social login buttons for your app. In addition, social logins increase conversions for your application.

What are your favorite Google Plus updates? Are you looking forward to what Google has in store for 2014? Share your thoughts in the comments section.