Google has just announced a slew of updates to plus that make for a better user experience. And while nobody seems to be using it that much at the moment, they might be just the incentive you need to get involved.

Because some of these tweaks are actually really quite neat, and help get the functionality of plus edging towards that of Facebook. So, for anyone using it, here's a run-down of the changes you can expect.

First up is a circles volume control. If you often miss infrequent updates from your family because they're drowned out by incessant, inane updates from your co-workers, you can dial up the family circle and tone down the colleagues. Google say you can finely tune each of your circles' volumes to "graphic-equalize" your stream. Crappy analogies aside, it means you might spot posts that are most relevant to you.

Next up, Google has redesigned the little red notification indicator in the top right of the screen. Previously it was almost impossible to tell what some notifications actually meant — this redesign is supposed to improve that by giving a slightly longer sneak-preview. We don't know how well it will work yet, but it's got to be better than the current design.

Finally, the photo functionality has been improved, too. The two main improvements are the way photos are viewed — Google has made the photos more prominent when they're viewed large, Faceook-style — and the introduction of a new tagging system. So now you can easily label all your Christmas photos. Not that anyone will look at the damn things. Yet. [Google]