With a completely new UI update landing for the web client today, we can see that Google is really trying to grab and keep users for their social networking service. Now, UI updates come to services all the time, with re-focus for their apps and so forth. However, Google isn’t necessarily trying to point out something new with this update, just show you what’s been there the whole time. No big new features, no name-changes, just the same Google+ with a different look.
There is no doubt that they are trying put a bigger focus on Google Hangouts, one of the best features Google+ has to offer, and really, one of only things I use it regularly for. The entire right side of the page has been taken up by a chat bar, showing all users that are currently online with an option at the top to “start a Hangout.” This really draws your attention when first getting to the site, much like what Facebook has done with their side-bar.
The profiles have also been redone, and it really just looks like an inverted version of Facebook’s Timeline. Posts are lined up from the bottom in order you posted them like usual on G+, but much of the design layout is very reminiscent of what Facebook has just done with their profiles. They’ve even added the option to add a cover photo, with your profile picture laid neatly on top. They did, at least, put all of this on the right side of the page as opposed to Facebook having it on the left, but it is still very similar.
More after the break
One of the greatest pieces of the new UI is the column on the left displaying all of the places to go on Google+. To me, this really simplifies the whole experience and makes it really easy for new users to figure out what to do. All the necessary things have been added for users to view, such as Home, Profiles, Circles, and of course, Hangouts.
Overall, I really like the new design of G+, and I think it is much easier to use. The emphasis has been placed on the social service’s best features, and showing people why they need to use Google+ is the way they’ll bring in more users. Check out the video below showing the new update in action.