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As Google’s social networking star, Google+ continues to grow and acquire interesting new features, older Google products continue to be axed, presumably to free-up resources to support their new favourite.

Knol, Google Wave, Renewable Energy cheaper than Coal (RE<C), Google Friend Connect, Google Gears, Google Search Timeline and Google Bookmarks Lists will be shut down permanently over the next three months.

The products didn’t quite take off as Google had hoped and are therefore being shut down, in Google’s own words, with the aim “to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience.”

A lot of the engineering resources at Google seem to be redirected towards making Plus a hit. A host of new features are seemingly added to the new social network each month. One of these new features is an advanced search option, allowing users to filter search results by author and to browse through the currently trending topics at that point in time.

Similar to Twitter, the trending topics on Google+ show users what are the most popular topics at the moment, and allow them to dive into conversations related tot hose topics.

Google+ search along with trending topics

Now, when a user carries out a search, the trending topics will be displayed in a column on the right side of the page. Users click on any of the trending topics to conduct a search for that topic, which again is very similar to the functionality in Twitter.

Users can also narrow down the search results by using the filters provided at the top of the page, to narrow the content by type – everything, Google+ posts, people and pages or Sparks – and the content source – everyone, circles or self. At present, these tools are available only after a search has been conducted. However, it has been reported by The Next Web that users are asking for the trends results to be added to the main page on Google+.

Another interesting feature that has been spotted recently is the integration of Google+ with Google Places. A number of local searches now show the listing accompanied by the profile image that has been pulled from Google+. When users click on this logo, they are taken to a Google search results page that lists the Google+ Page and provides the user the option to directly add that Page directly to their Circles.

Google+ profiles featured in Google Places search results

This is yet another service that the search giant has integrated with Google+. Even though the network has been criticized for its lack of activity, the developers seems to be determined to make it succeed by placing it in front of users of all other Google services till they eventually wear down and decide to use it!