Google+ is following its competition with a design change that has everyone up in arms. As usual, some like the changes made while more disapprove. The new design is going to take some getting used to, but the worlds biggest search engine had the best intentions in mind for both businesses and individuals when it came to the very photo-friendly redesign.
Top 5 Latest Changes to the Google+ Design
As discussed above, the vast majority of changes that we see center around images. It’s no secret that the web is becoming more photo-focused, and Google took that idea and ran with it. A few of the new features include:
- Larger Cover Photo. The cover photo now takes up the entire screen above the fold. In other words, when you visit a Google+ profile it’s a huge photo that’s you’re seeing (unlike the Facebook cover photo that offers a little bit more information above that fold).
- Auto Enhance. Just as the name suggests, this new feature helps you enhance your photo by improving the brightness, focus, contrast, and many other aspects that make up a great photo. You click a button, find Google+’s options, and you’re set to improve your photo in just a few seconds.
- Auto Awesome. This is one feature that seems to be exclusive to Google+ (at least when compared with the other big networks Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn). It takes different snippets of different photos and uses them to create one amazing photo.
- Multi-Column Layout. Google+ followed the Facebook and Pinterest model and now has all updates in a multi-column layout (two or three depending on your screen size). This helps draw attention to images and helps readers scan the page.
- Hangout Conversation History. If you ever have an important meeting or conversation via Google+ hangouts, you can now go back and re-watch your hangout. This feature is easy to turn off if you wish, but it’s the one thing that was really missing for businesses, so many are excited about this new option.
Other less notable changes to Google+ include auto backup, which allows you to store photos, and auto highlights, which allows you to easily sort your pictures based on the quality of the photo (doubles eliminated, blurry photos eliminated, etc.). You can read Google’s official announcement here to see all the smaller changes made.
What the Google+ Design Changes Mean to You
From a business perspective, the new cover photo has not gotten positive reviews. As discussed above, it takes up the entire page, which doesn’t help visitors learn much about the profile. While this isn’t as important when it comes to friends, it is important when it comes to business. The usability is poor because of this, so it will be interesting to see what Google+ does in the future.
As far as the other changes go, the updates should have a positive affect on business pages. All business pages want to have photos, so any opportunity to enhance that photo is important. Having an easy-to-understand layout (one many are used to because of Facebook) helps navigation and being able to record hangouts opens up the possibility for more meetings and interviews via the web.