Google Plus was Google’s answer to Facebook’s utter domination in the social networking arena. Many questioned whether Google Plus would be able to make a dent in Facebook’s sprawling social empire. Regardless of critics, it appears that Google’s social bet is playing out quite well. Since the launch of Google Plus last summer, the social networking has been growing at a significant rate, and now boasts over 170 million users.
If you are a part of the Google Plus community, you must have been surprised to see a massive change to the site’s layout today, or what the team is calling a “simpler, more beautiful Google.”
This makeover is aimed at making the site easier to use and more visually appealing. Some of the many changes include (from the Google Plus blog):
- Static icons found on the top have been removed and replaced with a “navigation ribbon” found on the left. You are also able to customize this ribbon to suit your own needs by changing the order of the apps by dragging them up or down, show or hide apps by moving them from or to “More”, and hovering over an app reveals a quick action list.
- More prominence for photos and videos
- A stream of conversation “cards” making it easier to scan and join discussions
- An overhaul of Google Hangouts featuring a continuously updating list of Hangout invitations, quick access to all public and On Air hangouts, and the introduction of a rotating billboard of popular hangouts.
- A new “Explore” page that shows what is interesting and trending across the network
- A new profile with bigger photos
- A new chat list has been added to the right of the page, giving easy access to chat with friends who are online
This redesign is in line with Google’s attempt to provide a more seamless social networking experience. From my experience, I found it far less cluttered, and the new navigation ribbon is very useful for arranging your apps according to your preference. The chat list is also a big improvement.
For many Facebook users, one of the biggest gripe is the continuous design changes, so, hopefully, Google is not heading down the same route. But as a first makeover, it certainly makes the service much attractive to the user.
You can watch a video introduction of the new Google Plus layout here:
What do you think of the new layout of Google Plus? Big improvement or annoying changes? Let us know in the comments section below.