Google+ has got its first major overhaul of the user interface yesterday only around nine and a half months after its closed beta launch on July 28, 2011. Google+ has been continuously bringing in new features based on user feedback ever since its beta launch. However, after the initial frenzy, the rush for new memberships and daily activity in the social network reduced a bit. So, it seems Google has decided to take Facebook and Twitter head on once again with the new changes in the user interface.
The major changes in the new user interface is the shifting of different icons etc. to provide more space for posts. As you can notice in the image above, the main navigation icons such as home, profile, circles, hangouts, games etc. which were on the top of the Google+ page have been moved to the left. The post area has been slightly increased too. On the right of the stream of posts, there are two columns now. The first one immediately right to the stream accommodates “trending on google+”, suggested profiles etc. And on the extreme right, there is the “start a hangout” and space for chat. The hangouts section has been expanded significantly with several new features including a constantly updated list of hangout invites. It seems that the popular features of Google+ such as hangouts, chat, trends etc. have been given a lot more importance in this new overhaul. In addition, the icons can now be moved and rearranged as per your convenience. The profile pictures in the Google+ profiles have been made significantly large too. Most of the changes have been applied both to individual profiles as well as business pages.
The changes has been received well for the most part by Google+ users. It was not surprising that #newgoogleplus was one of the most popular trends on the social network yesterday as can be seen in the image below.
However, if you look carefully you would be also notice that #usesforwhitespace was also within the top trends on Google+ immediately after the new look was applied. Perhaps the only negative feedback about the new layout is the noticeable amount of white space on the right of the posts stream. And the white space becomes more evident in case of desktops as they normally have comparatively larger screen sizes. It was also hilarious as there were many suggestions on the uses of white space flowing in throughout the day including the following gem by Eric Tamez.
It is likely that there would be more changes in the user interface in the near future based on user feedback. But overall the changes have been quite positive and it seems evident that Google would leave no stone unturned for the success of the social network.
Here is an official video of the new Google+ explaining the major feature improvments: