Google Gets a New Look

Today Google’s social network, Google Plus, has gotten a new facelift.  Google + upgraded its look, making images and videos larger and navigation customizable.  Now, is it just me or does this new look of the Profile page mirror that of that other social network… what’s it called again?  Oh, yeah, Facebook. 

But the new design isn’t just about how your profile will look.  The changes are aimed at making the user experience more visually appealing while they also attempt to streamline the interface.  On its official blog, Google explained the changes:

A critical piece of this social layer is a design that grows alongside our aspirations. So today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful.

 

Take a look

With the new layout you can:

  • Set your own navigation through the site
  • Share more easily with your contacts
  • Have a dedicated location for Hangouts
  • Read what’s trending on the new Explore page

Some people are already up in arms about the new layout.  You just can’t please everybody.  Although the changes are less than 24 hours old, there has been some early onset backlash and praise.  Not quite the backlash that Facebook has gotten for their forced timeline (which I happen to love.  I guess it’s just me…  I like change.  I like change a lot.  So I’m thrilled with the new look.

Have you tried out the new Google + layout and if so, what do you think?

 

 

 

Google+ vs Facebook… Who is Winning?

Google+ is where I engage with the social media, biking, and music community. I made these Circles to specifically isolate these groups, to drown out the other “noise” of other posts, and to focus on the conversations that mean the most to me.  Facebook, however, is where I hangout with family, friends, and well, people who say there are “friends” but who are more like very casual people I barely know and may, at some point, want to engage with.  Wondering what the breakdown of Google+ vs Facebook looks like? See the Infographic below.

Google+ Week One – Who Is In Your Circle?

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If you haven’t heard, Google has rolled out a new social network and I’m giving Google+ two thumbs up.  I should, for the past few nights I’ve gone to bed late and gotten up very early just so I can experiment with it. Winning where Google Wave failed, I have to say my initial impression of the platform has been very positive.  Over the past few days I have been experimenting, observing, commenting, uploading, testing and getting to know this platform. In its first week, I’m still here checking notifications, trying out new features and getting to know my fellow Google+ community.

You may be asking do we really need another social network.  I know for many folks this will be another thorn in their side as they attempt to learn yet site.  But for me it was an easy fit.  I have a pretty strong presence on Google already so the migration of my public Google profile, Google Buzz posts and Picasa photos was rather easy.  Look, I recognized long ago that Google was into world domination so I’ve been on board with them for a while. 

After setting up the Goolge+ page the next step was deciding who I wanted to be in your Circle.  Circles on Google+ are a grouping of friends, followers and others that you want to interact with online.  I’ll admit that being able to drag and drop people into a circle that spins your additions into place is cool as all get out.  Then after deciding who I would add, the next task was deciding what kinds of Circles I wanted.  Google+ has allowed me to separate my real “friends” from the rest of the online world I engage with.  I found myself coming up with zany titles for my Circles.  Here are a few Circle names I’ve decided not to use (yet) that include:

  • I Don’t Know You But I May Want To
  • Why Am I Following You In The First Place
  • Didn’t I Un-Friend You On Facebook
  • You Think You’re A Friend But You Really Aren’t
  • People I’m Suppose To Follow But Don’t Really Like  

Oh, the list is endless!  Once the Circles were complete the last step was to start engaging with the other early adopters.  Similar to Facebook, you can follow the feed and start commenting on or reposting links from others.  The handy +1 button, very similar to the Facebook Like button, allows you to easily share posts.  Last but not least, the other stand out for me is Hangouts.  

The Hangout feature blows me away.  Think of it as a big chat service on steroids.  You simply contact one or more people from your Circle and ask them to “hangout” with you.  Then you can video/audio chat with them.  This chat feature clearly sets Google+ apart from all other social networks. However, there is pressure to look good all day long… you never know who might want to hang out with you and you don’t want to get caught looking crazy when someone asks you the Hangout. 

Originally one of my favorite features was being able to segregate my posts.  I can send them to the entire public or to a certain group of people in my Circle.  This alone is a win for me.  Now, however, I’ve found a little problem with the Circles.  I was invited to what I was told was a “private” Circle.  I was then asked a question.  The problem, I thought I was having a private conversation between myself and the other person.  I had no idea it was Circle of three people.  So what I thought was a private conversation between myself and one other person was actually a three-way conversation.  Note to self, unless you know the person sent you a notification privately, assume other people can see your reply.  Then to send notifications privately you can single out the person by hitting the “+” symbol and typing in their name.  

Finally, once I can do multiple posts to Google+ from Twitter and Facebook (I’m not any where near ready to leave those two sites right now) and once I have an iPhone/iPad app that will alert me of my notifications, then I will settle comfortably into Google+ and never leave.