The first of Google's big social announcements today is a new addition to Google + -- communities. Communities are groups of people arranged around a Google+ hub page dedicated to a specific topic. Community membership can be public or private, Google says, and support anything from local neighborhoods to groups arranged around a common interest or activity.
Like circles, Google+ will let members share to particular communities with posts, photos, +1's and hangouts, so the community experience should be a familiar one for regular G+ users.
We're not seeing Google+ Communities on our accounts just yet, but we'd expect to see them appearing for most people later today -- check the sidebar menu on the right.
Alongside today's announcement, Google also dropped in a couple of stats detailing the progress of its 18-month-old social network. Some 500 members have "upgraded" their Google accounts to Google+, while 235 million are "active" on the service. Google includes users taking part in hangouts and +1ing items on the web and Google Play in this number; the number active "on stream" is apparently 135 million.
More details in today's promo video after the break.
Source: Google Blog