If you are someone who keeps a finger on the pulse of the social media world, you may have heard that Google recently rolled out an extensive redesign of its social network Google+. The makeover addresses many areas, but mainly focuses on presentation and functionality. Response to the changes has largely been positive, but are they enough to keep marketers interested in the social platform? Maybe. Maybe not.
What’s New in Google+
The redesigned Google+ offers a variety of new features for users to look at and play with. Some that stand out include:
Trending Functionality – The feature called “Trending on Google+” is essentially a new section that, hence the name, shows the user what topics are trending on the site. So depending on what’s happening that day, you may find topics ranging from celebrity news to the latest developments on a hot national news story. Sound familiar? It probably does because Google+ borrowed the trending functionality from rival social network Twitter.
Chat Bar – Google also used the redesign to introduce a (sort of ) new chat bar. Now located on the right of the page instead of the left, this new section allows the user to communicate in a couple of different ways. For example, they can click the “Hangout” button to start up a video-based chat, or simply start a text-based chat. Now that the chat bar has been repositioned, it leaves the profile with plenty of white space for a look that is clean and organized.
Navigation Ribbon – Another major change to Google+ is the addition of the Navigation Ribbon. Situated on the left side of the page, this new inclusion provides an easier way for users to navigate through all the available features. So they can access features such as Photos, Hangouts, Circles and others all by clicking the corresponding button. They can also change the order of these features by simply dragging and dropping them where they choose.
Too Little, Too Late?
Google’s redesign of Google+ introduces a number of compelling changes that the vast majority of the user community is likely to appreciate. With the exception of the extra white space, there has been little to complain about. Most would agree that the changes have not only made it more visually appealing, but a more capable social networking platform. Unfortunately for Google+, not even these improvements are guaranteed to keep marketers around.
Despite having more than 170 million users, many social media experts believe that the network is struggling to stay alive. And even though there are several destinations to choose from, there is only so much time to devote to them. With Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest now in the picture, it is starting to look like Google+ is the one most users can do without. It remains to be seen whether the redesign will help rejuvenate Google’s prized social layer.
Author Bio: Francis Santos is based in the LA area and an up and coming writer for Benchmark Email, an email marketing company. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism.