Earlier when I accessed my Google+ account, I noticed something had changed; Google redid its entire design and published this morning a clean new look. The navigation is now left-handed so the users will be able to find on the left menu segment what Google calls the “dynamic ribbon” to access different sections of the site such as the Home page, your Profile, Hangouts (which now have their own page), Photos, Pages and more.
I remember telling my partner and fiance not two days ago that Google needed to release something fast in order not to be forgotten in the social network race. With over 170 million users, Google+ is definitely part of the top 5 most popular social networks. Can this change help the social network increase its users and perhaps one day even beat Facebook?
Beautiful but sometimes impractical
Google+’s new design is quite beautiful; it’s clean, minimalist and attempts to help users focus on what matters most. However, there is a lot of wasted space. For instance, a whole column on the right side is used to hold the tiny sections “Trending on Google+” and “You may know”. Further on the right, there is another column used for a chat that looks almost exactly like Facebook’s. Neither can be deleted or collapsed which is quite unfortunate; as a user, I would prefer to see a wider stream instead. These changes are impractical to say the least.
Google+ users also get the option, just like on Facebook, to upload a cover photo instead or the usual 5 square pictures. The formula was quite successful on Mark Zuckerberg’s network so you can hardly blame G+ for trying it out too.
What really stands out in Google+’s new user interface is the integration of a new page dedicated to Hangouts. There’s also the very simple profile page which does look quite neat, I have to admit.
Overall Google+ did a great job at simplifying an already simple design and integrating all the social features it offers in a very accessible and easy to understand user interface. Minus the intrusive Facebook-like chatbox and the unfortunate waste of space on the home page, it’s a definite improvement and this new update shows that Google+ still nurtures its ambition to beat the major social networks out there.