Google+ first popped up as Mountain View's answer to Facebook, but as the platform has grown its most useful components have been nothing to do with social networking in the traditional sense. Here are three features that might make it worth your time to dust off your Google+ account and dive back in.

Location sharing

Google Latitude is dead (RIP), but many of the location-sharing features that were available in Google Latitude have now been rolled into Google+. You can keep an eye on where you friends are at all times, and even get alerts (via Google Now) when they arrive home after a long hard day at the office. You know, if they let you.

It's not quite Google Latitude but it's better than nothing.

To let your friends see you, you first need to enable Location Reporting from the Google Settings app on Android or the Privacy section of the Google Search app on iOS. Then, you need to enable Location Sharing from the Google+ app itself. You can choose which level of accuracy to share with which circles (yes, you'll still have to "circle" people) so your best friends might be able to see exactly where you are while everyone else can only tell which city you're in.

Photo editing and backup

You probably already know about the photo capabilities of Google+, which are so good the company is rumored to be about to spin them out of the social networking platform. Via the Google+ app on both Android and iOS you can opt to upload photos and videos from your mobile devices straight to the cloud, and the storage prices are pretty reasonable too.

Then there are the editing tools, absorbed from Google's various products and purchases down the years, that let you make basic adjustments and drop in a few filters. On top of that you have the auto-awesome features that apply enhancements for you, picking out the best moments from video clips and photos to save you the job of doing any editing at all.

An online portfolio

Even if you never post anything on Google+, your profile page can work as a clean, straightforward portfolio on the Web. It lets you list locations, links and contact details, and each bit of info can be made public or shared with specific circles. With Google now allowing you to register for a specific Google+ URL, it'll even look smart on your next business card.

You can extend the idea further with Google+'s posting capabilities: thanks to the circles concept, personal posts can be kept separate from work-related ones, so your friends see pictures of your dog and public visitors see pictures of your latest photography exhibit. You can do the same sort of trick with Facebook though the card-based design of Google+ looks a lot cleaner.

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