Google Unveils New Changes To Its Social Network
Google announced on Wednesday that it would be redesigning its social network, Google+, toward a simpler look.
The online giant wrote in a blog post that it was introducing more “functional and flexible” versions of Google+ to its users.
“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 Google,” Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President, wrote in a blog post.
Google will be moving its navigation “ribbon” from the top of the page, to the left side of the page. This navigation tool includes new customization features like being able to drag apps up or down the ribbon to organize apps the way a user wants.
Users will also be able to hover over certain apps on the navigation ribbon to reveal a set of quick actions, or show or hide apps by moving them in and out of the “More” selection.
“Taken together, these powers make it easier to access your favorites, and to adjust your preferences over time,” Gundotra wrote. “We’ve also built the ribbon with the future in mind, giving us an obvious (and clutter-free) space for The Next Big Feature, and The Feature After That.”
The social network is also allowing its users to see content like photos and videos in more details without putting them in “lightbox” mode.
Google is also trying to make it easier for users to join conversations happening on its social network by adding conversation “cards”.
The company said it will be altering its popular Hangouts feature by adding a dedicated Hangouts page that creates “even more opportunities” to connect with other users.
The Hangouts feature on Google+ is a popular way for some people to engage in video chat conversations with multiple friends or users.
Google said it will be adding quick access to every public and On Air hangout, making it easier for people to meet someone new or watch a live broadcast. It is also integrating a rotating billboard of popular hangouts.
“By highlighting all the hangouts you can join, all over the world, it´s now easier to spend time together–even be there for each other,” said Gundotra. “And with efforts like hangout apps already underway, you can expect more hangouts in more places in the future.”
He said that there is a new Explore page that shows what is interesting and trending across the network.
According to Gundotra, Google will be rolling out the new changes to the social network over the next few days.
Google said along with the announcement that its social network now has over 170 million users since its 2011 launch.
A study released by Experian Hitwise found that the social network grew up 27 percent from February to March. The research firm said that Google+ reached a total of 61 million visits during the time frame.
Many question what criteria Google has in order for it to consider its users “active” because CEO Larry Page announced that Google+ had 100 million “active” users recently. However, this number did not match up with what Experian Hitwise found to be true in February and March.
A comScore report in January found that the average Google+ member spent 3.3 minutes on the site for the entire month, compared to 7.5 hours for the average Facebook user.