The travels of Google+ in the social space have been comparable to a roll coaster ride. Since being introduced last summer, the social network has seen the highs of being the fastest growing site of its kind, as well as the lows of stagnant growth and failing to retain the interest of its user base. And although its future remains uncertain, that has not stopped Google from rolling out updates and working to improve the platform.
Greater Control for Users
Google recently performed a major overhaul of Google+. This particular update focused on one aspect – the site’s design. The new and improved Google+ brings a lot to the table, bigger photos and videos, real-time trends, and a slew of customization features. Perhaps the most significant change is the addition of the Navigation Ribbon. With the Navigation Ribbon, users have access to a sticky navigation bar that makes browsing the platform as simple as pointing and clicking a few buttons. The customization aspect carries over to this element as users can pretty much arrange the buttons how they want.
Google also took some time to update Hangouts, the popular video group chat feature bundled into Google+. The feature now has its very own dedicated page, one that lets users check invites, talk to friends, and even join in on conversations hosted by users around the world. This is a big move seeing how Hangouts was initially designed as a way for friends, relatives, and colleagues to participate in visual communications. With the ability to jump in virtually any session, Google is upping the ante and urging users to connect.
Is Looking Good Enough?
The recent redesign of Google+ certainly adds to the functionality of the social platform, but overall, it simply makes it look better. Thanks the tweaks, both the user’s profile and cover image are larger and more prominently displayed. This essentially means that profiles will stand out more on first glance, which is a good thing for profile and page owners. Some say that with the redesign in effect, Google is now more visually attractive than Facebook. That of course, is all a matter of opinion, but the redesign has been well received for the most part. As for the impact it will make, that is up in the air.
Although the redesign of Google+ makes the site both more functional and attractive, Google isn’t really giving us anything we haven’t already seen. For example, the new trending feature is borrowed from Twitter, while the new landscape layout is reminiscent of Facebook’s timeline format. Social networks copy one another all the time, but with a portfolio of exclusive products and services, Google has the type of ammunition you would think would give it an edge. The internet giant could potentially blow the competition away with a deeper integration of search, and the other technologies that have helped it become the global powerhouse it is today.
Francis Santos is a best practices activist and advocate for leading web and permission-based html email marketing software. He Graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In Addition, he is also the executive editor for separate popular news blogs.