Google+ is unveiling their redesign, with some users already seeing the updated look on their profiles. Today’s updates to the social sharing site make images and videos larger and allow users to customize the navigation, among other changes. While Google claims these changes have been brought about to create a "simpler, more beautiful Google", many people believe it is an effort to look like the more popular social network, Facebook. Distinguishing Google+ from Facebook is the integration of Google search with the other social sharing capabilities.
Restructuring and minimalism seem to be the biggest goals of the Google+ redesign, which should be available to all users within a few days. Some of the changes are unique to Google+, while others seem to mimic Facebook’s latest Timeline and News Feed updates. Here’s a quick rundown of the changes you can expect:
- Large banner-like images on Google+ profiles
- All navigation has been moved to the left-hand side in the new "navigation ribbon"
- Google chat lists will appear on the right-hand side of your feed (much like the Facebook sidebar).
- "Hangouts" will get a dedicated page and more visibility.
- A rotating banner with popular hangouts, tips from Google pros and other top information will be included.
- Photo albums pop up when you hover over any of the photos in a feed. Photo and video sizes will also be increased to take up your news stream.
- Exclusive YouTube sharing privileges will be given on Google+.
- Users will see a dedicated page with trend spotlights and a new "Explore" function that lets you discover the top Google+ topics without doing a specific search, think the Twitter "trending" functionality.
While many people thing that Google+ was created to compete with Facebook, there’s more to it than that. Facebook leads the way in terms of social networking, and Google knows it. This Google+ redesign reinforces the belief that Google+ is looking to go beyond social networking, and is attempting to integrate the users’ online experience. Tying search, photo, video and social functionalities together in an unassuming, sleek way. Have you been given access to the new Google+ design yet? What are your thoughts on the network and the new look?