Google recently completed the first major redesign of its social networking platform Google+. Although the site has not even been available for a full year, you might say this makeover was overdue seeing how it has “supposedly” been struggling to gain ground in the increasingly competitive social space. The recent changes not only affect users, but brands as well, so here is an overview of what social marketers need to now about the Google+ redesign.
One of the biggest changes to Google+ lies in the new navigation scheme. So now rather the five buttons that were once featured at the top of the page, the navigation is handled by a new component known as the Navigation Ribbon. The Navigation Ribbon is essentially a sticky toolbar that allows you to rearrange the order of buttons for features such as hangouts, photos, or your actual profile itself. You can change the order of these buttons, and even hide the ones you rarely use. The Navigation Ribbon is Google’s way of giving users more control over their profile or page.
More Space, More Size
Another significant tweak to come out of the redesign is the addition of more real estate for presenting content. For instance, there is now a section that shows what’s trending on the right of the page, as well as a comprehensive view of the people who are sharing your updates and endorsing your content with a click of the +1 button. All this is in addition to the stream of updates from the users in your circles, which has been overhauled to make room for all the new features. On the size front, images and videos are optimized to be considerably larger than before, giving you the opportunity to draw more attention to your content.
Hangouts Goes Solo … Sort of
You know Google+’s video group chat feature Hangouts? Well, it now has its own dedicated page, which as we alluded to, you can now organize via the Navigation Ribbon if you’d like. From this page, you can view current video group chat session and decide to simply watch or join in the conversation. What’s really cool about the redesign as it relates to Hangouts is that you are not limited to communicating with friends. You can jump in any session you want. Google+ shows you a list of the most popular Hangouts as well as tips for getting the most out of the feature.
Google+ went live on June 28, 2011. The platform has enjoyed tremendous growth as it now has more than 170 million registered members. Despite its fast growth, some observers are questioning whether its future is in jeopardy. Is the recent redesign enough to re-engage the community and get them to care again? Only time will tell, but from the standpoints of presentation and functionality, the revamped Google+ is nothing short of impressive.