The New Google Plus Interface
Surprise, surprise! On 11th April Google+ made a new announcement. Google+ now has more than 170 million users!
This is not the only reason why you should consider using Google+ for your freelancing business. Another very important reason is that Google+ profiles and pages can make an impact on the SEO of your website, at least in the personalized search results of Google.
The announcement also declared that Google+ will now run on a whole new interface that is a more “functional and flexible version of Google+.” The most striking feature of this new interface is that all the apps have been cornered down into the left margin, which can be moved up and down as per the requirements of the user. This means that the apps are no longer static as before.
But this is just the beginning.
The senior vice president of Google, Vic Gundotra wrote on Google’s official blog that:
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. So stay tuned.
Google+ is surely onto something big. Only time will tell, what? In this article we’ll discuss some of the new features of Google+. Understanding the big changes to Google+ will allow you to take advantage of them to promote your freelance business.
The Banner Image
Google Plus’s home page now hosts a large banner image. Its dimensions are 940 by 180 pixels.
Compare this to the new Facebook Timeline banner that is 851 by 315 pixels. Since Facebook rolled out its Timeline first, it suggests that Google Plus’s banner is inspired from Facebook’s.
But Google Plus is doing it a little differently. The new Google Plus allows two types of banner images. One is a continuous large photo and the other one is composed of five blocks. See the screen shot below of Chris Garret’s profile to understand what I mean.
The Dynamic Ribbon
I’ve said a few words about the ribbon earlier. Now let’s delve deeper.
This ribbon will accompany you throughout Google Plus. It’s sort of “stuck” to the left side screen of your monitor. This feature turns out to be very beneficial, as it saves time. You no longer need to go to the home page again and again, in case you want to use an app, instead you can just click on an app in the ribbon.
Some apps, like the Photos app, contain hover affect. This means when you hover over them, a new tab will open showing additional functions.
All apps of this ribbon, except for the Home app, are completely customizable. This means that you are free to choose which apps should be displayed on the ribbon and which should be contained within the “More” part. You can also set these apps in whatever order you like.
This should be clear if you compare the apps of the preceding two images. They both have different arrangements of apps in the dynamic ribbon.
The Hangouts Page
Hangout is a group video chat room where at the most nine people can do a group video chat.
In the previous Google Plus interface you had a limited number of ways to know which members of Google Plus were hanging out at the time when you were online. You could see occasional Hangout notifications from your circles, but nothing more than that.
Now Google Plus has created a whole new page dedicated to Hangouts.
On this page you will find:
- An always updated list of invitations from the people in your circles who are hanging out. Of course, the people of your circles are the most important and if they invite you for a hangout, the invite must occupy a position on this page.
- Access to every public and On Air hangout. An On Air hangout is a hangout which you can watch but not join. It is a sort of live video program that you can display from your webcam and is hosted on YouTube. What was YouTube’s slogan? Broadcast yourself!
- A rotating billboard of popular hangouts. At a given time thousands of people may be hanging out. While joining any hangout arbitrarily you may miss out on the popular ones. Click on the “Best of” link to see only the popular hangouts. See the screenshot below.
Larger Images and Videos
The new Google Plus will display larger sized photographs and videos in streams than what the old interface displayed.
Apparently this step is taken so that you don’t leave Google Plus to watch a video in a larger frame on another site. You can watch the large sized video on Google Plus itself.
What are your thoughts on these changes to Google Plus. How are you taking advantage of these new features?