Google Plus Gets a New Design
Google Plus gets a brand new design featuring a complete layout and look & feel overhaul. The rapid design changes and releases at Google are nothing new and their new attitude towards product release is to get things out there and see what happens.
“Google isn’t going to wait for a product to be fully baked before releasing because if they did it would stifle innovation (thats why it’s the Google+ project not product)”
Recent comment from one of the Googlers on their rapid development policy:
“…some things change pretty quickly, sometimes even seemingly dramatically. There’s a lot of work that goes into making visible changes like these…”
One of the first noticeable features is the layout simplicity and reduced element noise. Features become coloured on mouse hover which is quite nice. The sidebar icons are ‘draggable’ and can be rearranged intuitively, including placement of undesirable or rarely used options into the “Other” section.
At the top we can see a new set of circle buttons with the following options:
- First Circle
- Second Circle
- More (reveals all your circles)
So if you wish to have two of your favourite circles handy at all times ensure they’re sorted as your first and second circle. The new layout is on the “liquid” side and it adjusts features as the browser resizes. For example the sidebar chat will disappear (go to bottom) and the user icon in the top right corner will slightly reduce. The post get’s a new look too with encouragement to explore images (more photos from username displays with a transparent shaded background on image mouse hover). The characteristic red +1 button remains the same, although slightly larger.
The new design comes loaded with handy tips and instructions such as this one. Sidebar contains the trending, hangout invitations and suggestions on who to follow. The profile page is slightly “facebookesque” and feels more personal. There is also the familiar “view as…” option to see how your profile will appear to others. This feature did exist before but is now more prominent. Here is the screenshot of the newly designed “Profile Page”:
One other ‘facebook-like’ feature is the new mode for the featured image which now offers a single long image instead of usual squares:
Similar semi-transparent bar displays on top of videos (before we click play) describing the video in more detail:
Note that “Other profiles”, “Contributor to” and “Recommended links” options now fall to the bottom of the page and the side is occupied by the name card style box and “have you in circles user image block”. Not much after that, we expect this empty space to be used up by something else in the future. I particularly like the new hangouts page which now features active hangouts in an overview mode.
The pages feature seems to be slightly ‘downplayed’ in the new Google+ look and one has to browse to “other” section to get the pages from the fly out menu. This can of course be adjusted as all icons can be dragged around to different locations. The new design and switching logic works well though:
Google’s announcement post shares a bit more about the major surprise update.