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Google intros Google+ events, tablet app

Google introduced Google+ Events at its I/O conference - a new social planning service available on the search giant's one-year-old social networking platform.

Google also unveiled its first optimised version of Google+ for tablets.

Google+ Events works before, during, and after a party, unlike other event organisation toolkits, which "bail when you need them the most," Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of social at Google, said during the opening keynote at Google I/O.

The main difference between Google+ Events and services like Evite is that the party doesn't stop on Google+ Events when the invitations go out. Gundotra highlighted a "groundbreaking" feature in the new social planner called "Party Mode." When you turn on Party Mode, all new photos taken by attendees who are on Google+ get added to the event's landing page in real time as a streaming feed that can also be viewed as a slideshow. After the tables are cleared and the lights are turned out, Google+ Events organises those photos chronologically.

Which isn't to say that Google skimped on the invites. The available themes for invitations are "cinemagraphic," so if you're planning a backyard barbecue, you can pick an invitation that shows fire flickering on a photo of steak on a grill.

You can also attach a personalised YouTube video greeting and a selection of animations to an invitation, according to the official Google blog.

Google+ Events invites are sent via email and can be fully viewed even if the recipient doesn't have a Google+ account. There's even more eye candy with the receiving mechanism—invitations "unfold" like a physical invitation sent via snail mail.

The social planner is tightly integrated with Google Calendar, so invitations plug directly into a user's schedule and can be viewed in full in the Calendar by hovering over the event.

Google also introduced its first optimised version of Google+ for tablets, which leverages the larger screen size of such devices for a richer, fuller presentation of the Google+ stream, face-to-face video chatting, and media playback.

The Android app was made available on Wednesday, with a version for Apple's iPad arriving later. The features in Google+ for tablets are actually being included in an updated version of Google+ for smartphones that's also immediately available, Gundotra said.