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Google adds Communities to Google+ and Snapseed to Android

Google is expanding its growing network of social tools by adding a Communities feature to Google+ and bringing the Snapseed photo app to Android.

"Today we're launching two new improvements that help bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to software," Google's senior vice president, Vic Gundotra, said in a blog post.

With Communities, Google+ users can create "permanent homes for all the stuff you love ... the wonderful, the weird, and yes, even the things that are waaay out there," Gundotra said.

Google+ Communities provides public or private membership for people looking for an outlet to discuss their fascinations with other like-minded people. Discussion categories cover any topic users could possibly care about, including photography, astronomy, cooking, and even poker night.

The new "Communities" icon - a green circle with three floating heads - is rolling out to the site today, making it easy for people to create or join any network, including National Geographic's Exploration, Liverpool FC Fans, and the Star Wars group. Within the new Communities, Google has integrated the option to start Hangouts and plan events with other members, as well as the ability to share a favorite community by clicking the +1 button.

According to Gundotra, the option is only a preview for now, and will be available in full and on mobile devices soon.

On the mobile front, Google is rolling out an Android version of the Snapseed photo app from Nik Software, which Google acquired in September. The Instagram rival was previously available for iOS, but now Google will bring Snapseed's basic photo editing and enhancements, filters, and social network sharing options to its own mobile platform.

The app is now available in the Google Play store and Apple's App Store for free.