Google+ Redesign: How much do you like it?

Google+ had a major redesign recently, with the whole site looking completely different from the former look. On first impression, the site looks pretty with a neat interface that still keeps the Google simplicity look that I personally love. Sleek design I must say but users are quick to point out the parts that resembles Facebook and also the huge amount of whitespace which is starting to get annoying. But I must say it looks way better than the former look which looked like a complete rip-off of Facebook (to the extend that I couldn’t differentiate the two social networks). In this post I shall go through the changes and my thoughts of it.

A new, sleek look

A completely different look. Navigation bars are now nice looking icons at the side showing Home, Profile, Explore, Hangouts, Photos and More. The news feed appears in the center with chat at the right side. It is rather impossible to not help but notice the excessive whitespace in the home page. Google currently fills it up with Trending Topics (a huge copy of Twitter) and people you may know. And by having the chat bar at the right, it does remind everyone about Facebook Chat. But still a rather sleek look that still gets a thumbs up!

To post an update with the new look, users have to click the Share button – located at the top right of the screen – for a menu that allows users to update their Google+ accounts. The update interface is very similar to the former look, with users also given the option of to upload a photo, video or a link. Privacy options remain the same as well.

Profile Redesigned

New profile design, which I must say gives a good feel to the whole site. The profile photo has the biggest emphasis on this page. The posts are similar to those of the Home page, and the About and Photos tab have not really undergone as much changes as compared to the former look. Google+ has replaced the photos at the top of the profile with a cover page – yea, just like the cover page on Facebook. The people in your circles are easily viewable at the bottom right of the profile, neatly arranged in little square boxes just like the last time.

Greater emphasis on Hangouts

This time around Google decided to put a huge emphasis on a feature that I must say is theirs – Hangouts. With the Hangouts tab on the sidebar, users can keep track of current hangouts. They can choose to just watch a Hangout or join them. This is certainly a great feature and shall gain more ground as the social network expands and gains momentum.

Originality and Growth

My major problem with Google+ is the lack of originality. From day one the site seems to be creating features with the same looks as other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. While they seem to be directing their ideas in a good way, users are searching for a new look and feel, or perhaps are new kind of social network. I must say that the copies from Facebook in terms of design has reduced tremendously in this new design, but a few Timeline features that have been integrated into Google+ are still noticeable – such as the cover photo, chat being at the right and huge photos and videos display resembling the Timeline display.

In terms of growth, the very over-hyped Beta launch of Google+ – where everyone was pleading for invites – have come to a huge slowdown. The site is deserted, and there is rarely people to communicate with (unless you have your networks there already). The problem is, a social network needs a network, and the fact that most people are not on Google+ yet is a huge downside in keeping users from moving away from the site. Most users are unwilling to create their networks again from scratch.

How much do you like it?

I do hope for Google+ to grow soon. I honestly see a lot of potential in this social network. Hopefully this new design attracts the user base once again. Also do not forget to leave you opinions on the new look! Do you love it, hate it or still don’t care about it?

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