On Wednesday of this week, Google Plus did what Facebook has been doing for years. They got a redesign. The social network that will hit one-year old in June, and has more than 170 million users, has put out their first major overhaul, with an eye towards being easier to use, nicer to look at, and maybe even more Facebook-like.
So, what’s new with the Plus?
Overall, they have added a bar on the left side, called a “dynamic ribbon”, which contains icons for the most used parts of GPlus, including, “Home”, “Profile”, “Explore”, “Hangouts”, “Photos”, “Circles”, and “Games”. In addition, you can add or delete icons for parts of GPlus you don’t wish there (although they only move to the “More” button).
On the right side, just past your news stream, they still offer the “Trending on Google+, You May Know, and You Might Like”, and lots and lots of empty space, before reaching the new chat area (which was previously on the left side). What’s with all the free space? Only the GPlus designers know for sure, but speculation is that it is for features that will be added in the future. In fact, this is the one part of the redesign that I take issue with. I have a 24” monitor, and I’m looking at half of the screen being a subtle grey, which I find a bit boring.
Now, when viewing photos and videos in the news feed, they are bigger, and more prominent. They have also added a new home for Hangout, GPlus’ use of live video to bring people together (you can video chat with up to 10 people at once). There is now a dedicated Hangouts page, which will create even more opportunities to connect in person, including an updated list of invitations, quick access to every public hangout, and a billboard of popular hangouts.
So, is GPlus easier to use? I actually think so. After my previous post, What’s All the Plus About, I’ve been trying to use GPlus more, and I believe that some of these changes will make it easier, and more likely that I’ll spend even more time here.
What about you? What do you like about the changes? Dislike? Will these changes make you more apt to give GooglePlus a closer look? If so, make sure you circle me!
Originally published at Digital Brand Marketing Education