Google+ is about to get a major update with the first big redesign since it debuted last year. The new Google+ moves things around quite a bit and looks a lot more polished than the current site.
Google Wednesday morning said it has started rolling out a redesign of its Google+ social network. At the same time, the company announced that Google+ now has some 170 million users, up from an estimated 62 million in January.
Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post today that the Google+ upgrades improve the site’s navigation, make it easier to join online discussions and adds a dedicated Hangout page.
“Today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+,” wrote Gundotra in the post. “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.”
He also said the company is planning more changes to simplify the use of all Google products. “We’re going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love — from search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube,” he noted.
The redesign sports more white space and moves the traditional five-button navigation bar from the top of the page to a new “navigation ribbon” along the left-side. The buttons, including Circles, Profile, Hangouts and Photos, can now be hidden or rearranged.
The new look also extends user profiles. With a large picture at the top and the user’s photo to the right, the profile page seems to have taken a cue from Facebook’s new user profile design.
“The new look is attractive and inviting, with the available apps lining the left margin and the middle available for showing stream content,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.
Key notes: Changes on Google+ redisign:
Navigation you can make your own
- You can drag apps up or down to create the order you want
- You can hover over certain apps to reveal a set of quick actions
- You can show or hide apps by moving them in and out of “More”
Conversations you’ll really care about
- Full bleed photos and videos that’ll make you really proud to post
- A stream of conversation “cards” that make it easier to scan and join discussions
- An activity drawer that highlights the community around your content
A new home for hanging out
- An always-updated list of invitations from the people in your circles
- Quick access to every public and On Air hangout, for those times when you want to meet someone new, or watch a live broadcast
- A rotating billboard of popular hangouts, pro tips and other items you don’t want to miss