Google+ is putting its volume slider on the What's Hot feature. What on Earth does that mean? It means that Google+ is giving its users fine-grained control over what appears in their main streams.

The volume slider came out in December to let users adjust the prominence of posts from individual circles in their overall streams. It's now available for the What's Hot feed as well, which is where Google+ shows users popular posts from across the network.

The Google+ stream is a noisy place where posts from anyone in that user's circles can appear. That means text, photos, videos, Hangouts, music and more can all appear at any time in one never-ending column. In October, Google+ added What's Hot to the stream, which interjects posts that are popular around Google+, which you may not have seen in your own stream. It came to the mobile version last month.

What's Hot is a way for Google+ to make sure its users all see the big news on the network. It also helps users discover new content, as well as people and pages to add to their circles.

For a real-time social network, amplifying trends to all users is a way to ensure that big stories get maximum attention. On Twitter, for example, the whole service has been recently rearranged around the "discover" tab, which highlights trending topics and hashtags. This is also a tempting place for paid promotions.

Trending topics are not always (read: almost never) pretty, though. Fortunately for users, Twitter has shunted most of this madness off into its own tab. Google+ puts What's Hot posts prominently into the main stream. But today's update will let users turn the volume of What's Hot down, or even all the way off.

You can access What's Hot from the left sidebar, underneath your circles, or from plus.google.com/hot. When the volume slider goes live for you, it will appear in the top-right corner of the stream.

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