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Google+ Gets A Big Refresh With New Navigation, A Redesigned Stream, A Dedicated Hangouts Page & More


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Google this morning is announcing a new look for its social network, Google+, which introduces a revamped navigation, with drag-and-drop elements and actions that appear when you hover over each item, as well as the introduction of new features aimed at making it easier to discover conversations to join, new profile pages, a dedicated page for Google+ Hangouts (Google+’s multi-person video chat offering), and more.

It’s interesting that Google+ has now changed its design, after its first efforts received such praise. But, after using the service for some time, it became clear that Google+’s navigational elements became a little cluttered. That “share a YouTube video” feature, for example, which popped out a box on the right side of the screen, felt tacked on.

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The new interface drops the static icons at the top and moves all the navigation off to the side, allowing users to reorder the icons as they wish. The list includes access to all of Google+’s features, including Hangouts, Photos, Circles, Games, your Profile page, an Explore option for browsing the site, and an icon called “More” which will hold all the icons you don’t care to see.

As you hover over each icon, related actions will appear. For example, hover over Photos for access to a big red button to “Add Photos” from either your phone or your albums.

The Explore icon is also a new addition, and takes you to a page showing the trending and popular content across the network.

Meanwhile, Google+’s version of the News Feed has been redesigned, too, and now features full bleed photos and “conversation cards,” which better separate each post and the discussion from the next by wrapping it in a box. Activity surrounding the content – like how many people “plussed” it or re-shared your post – is also now available directly beneath your shared item in a drop-down box (the “activity drawer”).

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Hangouts, which have always been one of the network’s main selling points, are now being better highlighted in the refreshed site, and now have their own dedicated page, featuring a list of Hangout invitations from people in your Circles, easy access to live and public Hangouts, and a rotating billboard showing popular Hangouts, and other information.

There are other improvements, too, including a new profile page with bigger photos, and a new chat list that’s now in off in the sidebar.

In highlighting the new features, Google also mentions that Google+ now has over 170 million users. However, it’s still counting those who share via Search, Gmail, YouTube and other places across Google’s network – so, again, it’s not a real count of how many users are visiting Google+ as a destination of its own.


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Google+ gets a facelift, improves simplicity and adds new features

If you've logged into Google+ today, you may have noticed some big changes. On Google's official blog, the maestro of search has outlined those changes, which include a thorough user interface revamp. These alterations, the company hopes, will make the social service simpler, more beautiful, more functional and more flexible. Google says the update will be rolling out for "the next few days", but a few hundred thousand accounts had already taken on the modifications as of this morning.

With the revamp comes a fresh look with a focus on apps. There is now a customizable navigation side "ribbon" which displays your apps. The ribbon has been designed with future changes in mind, according to Google. It also supports drag 'n drop for reordering your app icons to taste. For items on the ribbon that have additional features, context-sensitive menus will slide out as you mouse over them, giving users quick access to commonly used features. In the ribbon, Google has also added an "Explore" icon for viewing public interests and network trends.

Users with ample screen real estate will now notice a wider browser window reveals an easy way to message or "hangout" with other Google+ buddies. The service's instant communication features persistently (and conveniently) appear on the left side of the window.

The data stream has been changed significantly. Google is touting full-bleed media and conversation "cards" that make it easier to identify and join in on discussions. In addition, they've added a clever "activity drawer" -- a panel that users can slide out to reveal who's been paricipating in an particular item in their stream.

One of the more curious features is a slider which adjusts how much stuff is actually shown in a user's stream. There's an independent slider for each Circle a user has. If someone has a lot of chatty friends they don't care about but would still like to hear what family members are discussing, then that user can adjust the "Friends" slider to minimize updates from that circle. That user can also maximize the "Family" slider to make sure he or she doesn't miss out on anything from relatives.

via http://googleblog.bl...ful-google.html

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