Google+ rolls out interface redesign

April 12th, 2012 by | No Comments

It’s been a while since Google Plus was launched as the search engine giant’s attempt to take a big bite out of the social networking pie. Response has been good for the search engine giant, with over 170 million users worldwide, as of writing. And as expected from any online service, new things will constantly be developed, and changes will regularly be implemented on the Google+ front, whether major or subtle. Significant ones include the pages delegated for businesses last November, and the design overhaul the company rolled out earlier today.

Google+ came out of the conveyor belt earlier today with a fresh coat of UI paint which mostly puts all that screen real estate to good use. It makes navigation more straightforward, and the look more squeaky clean.

“A critical piece of this social layer is a design that grows alongside our aspirations.” said Google VP Vic Gundotra on the announcement on the Google Blog. “So today we’re ntroducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful Google.”

Up front, you’ll notice that Google+ has employed the use of cover photos. And sure, this does takes cue from Facebook’s Timeline interface, it’s still a great addition that will allow a lot of personality into every profile, and definitely helps brands build on their branding efforts. Unlike Facebook Timeline though, the user photo is on the right side, and you can choose to have a long image (about 940x180px) as your cover image, or have five smaller images (or thumbnails) take up the space instead.

While the search field is still at the top of the page, the menu buttons for Google+’s applications have been relocated to the right side of the page. These are quite easier to manage, letting you drag icons (Profile, Hangouts, Photos, Circles, and Games) to organize them as you wish, or even hide them as a sub-icon More.

On the feeds, posted photos and the videos appear larger to make it easier to view them. There’s even a so-called activity drawer that highlights the community talking about your content on the site.

On the right side of the page is an area specifically for Google+ Hangouts, revitalized to include a list of invitations from the people in your circles updated in real-time, and quick access to public hangouts. There’s also a rotating billboard of popular hangouts taking place, as well as tips for better using the feature. Google+ Hangout apps are also in development to provide different kinds of social experience.

Aside from these, other notable additions to Google+’s stable of features include an explore page that displays the trending topics across the site.

While it has yet to truly claim the Facebook killer nomen for itself, Google+ makes for a compelling step towards the right direction with its seamless integration with all the products in the Google ecosystem, and with this redesign.

By focusing on you, the people you care about, and the stuff you’re into, we’re going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love—from Search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube. With today’s foundational changes we can move even faster—toward a simpler, more beautiful Google.

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