As many users of Google’s social network may have noticed recently, Google+ looks a lot different. This is because Google has rolled out a redesign of the social network to somewhat mixed, but mostly positive reviews. First here is a picture of the former Google+:
As you can see, it’s the common three-column layout with friend information on the right, circles and profile picture on the left, page buttons at the top and the stream in the middle.
- At the top were buttons to your Stream, Pictures, Profile and Circles pages as well as a search bar to help find people. Later on a fifth Games button would be added to this list of four.
- On the left was your profile picture and your circles so you could filter your stream based on who is in your circles. There was also a link to open Gchat.
- In the middle, obviously, was your stream with posts separated by a thin blue line.
- And finally on the right side was a sample grid of your friends, suggestions of friends you may like to add, a “Start Hangout” button if you care to video chat with someone and a link to the Google+ app.
For the most part, this minimal interface was enough for what users wanted to do, share and view posts and perhaps play a few games.
Then on April 11′th many users may have woken up to see this new page.
Here we sit a much prettier, yet bit more crowded design. There are a handful of new features but for the most part, things have been simplified and moved a bit.
- The first thing you may notices is the sidebar on the left side that has taken the role of the page buttons that previously existed at the top of the screen next to the search bar. Not only are they in a different place, but they are larger, more numerous due to there being dedicated pages for a few more features, and customizable.
- Secondly, you may feel that the content of the posts seems to pop more than before. This is because the size of pictures and videos has been mad larger, there is a dedicated “Activity Drawer” on each post that houses re-shares and +1s and the posts are now split into “Cards” that stand apart more from other posts visually.
- Gone is the “Start Hangout” button and friends grid from the right side of the page, and in its place is a Gtalk app that allows you to chat with friends between different Google platforms.
- At the top of the page where the page buttons seemingly were in the previous layout, there are now buttons labeled after Circles. This feature is a filter that lets you see the posts from that particular Circle of friends, meant for extremely busy streams.
- Finally, there seems to have been a major design change in the fact that the layout now seems to be a 4-column layout rather than the 3-column layout of the previous incarnation. On the right side of the “Cards” there is a column that contains a Trending app, and the previously right-column-dwelling friend suggestions and link to the Google+ app.
Aside from these front-page differences, there is now a separate “Hangouts” and “Pages” page in the left “Navigation Ribbon”, as well as an all new “Explore” page that acts as a sort of news page within Google+ where you can see popular posts and searches.
There is also a new visual appearance to the Profile page that will possibly come as a shock to those that spent a lot of time fixing up their four squares banner before the update.
Here we see one or two big changes to the
- The four-image style banner is now gone in favor of a traditional wide-image banner.
- The profile picture is quite large, larger in height than the banner image and also located on the right side with a few details about the person who’s Google+ page it is.
Aside from these two changes, the Profile page works essentially the same. Posts that you (or another user) posted is shown below the banner image, there are buttons for “About”, Photos and +1′s and the newly added Navigation Ribbon takes up the left side of the page, as it does on all the other pages as well.
For the most part I think this layout is heaps better than the already-good layout that Google+ had previously and I am interested to see more responses and input about the design in the future. If you have an opinion about the redesign, sound off in the comments section.