Apr 11 AT 9:54 AM Anthony Domanico 38 Comments

Armed with 170 million users, Google+ gets an extreme makeover

google-plus-promo-630

Google has announced that over 170 million people are now using its budding social network. Still just about one-fifth of the size of Facebook, Google+‘s growth has been exponential since it launch last summer. How is Google celebrating their runaway success? Why, with a massive makeover, of course.

Users are waking up this morning to a drastically redesigned Google+, which Google claims makes the social network a simpler, more beautiful one. Gone are the buttons fixated on the top of the screen, replaced by a customizable application ribbon on the left-hand side, which you can drag to rearrange to make the layout truly your own.

The stream features bigger and more robust media content such as photos and videos, and streams are now organized into cards for easier viewing. With the move, Google is hoping to emphasize photo and video content. Now, where have we heard that before?

Hangouts gains a bit of prominence in the update. Users will be presented with a constantly updated list of invitations to hangouts, as well as a rotating billboard of public and popular hangouts you can join on a whim. Google wants Hangouts to really take off, and make it easier for users to connect with others around the world who share similar interests.

Images of the newly-redesigned Google+ follow, and you can find a plethora of videos available on Google’s Blog. We’ve already heard from several of you, with opinions ranging from “OMG, I totes LOVE the new Google+” to “Great, Google+ now looks exactly like Facebook,” but we want to hear from more of you. How do you feel about the newly-redesigned Google+ network? Sound off in the comments.

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Source: Google Blog

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • Paul

    Now are these just people with an Account for people how regularly post? I have an account but have never posted or used it & most of my friends have created an account mainly because they use other google accounts, like gmail & picasa & have also never posted anything.

    • Warden Chinbach

      You give Google+ a bad name. Start using it and others will start as well.

      • Zagrash

        Exactly…People that don’t think there’s anything going on w/ G+ aren’t doing it right…

        Think of something you like…search for it on G+…chances are good there are plenty of people that are interested in that exact thing! (especially if that thing is photography, it seems). Start talking to those people about that thing that you like! Maybe add a few of them to a circle called “that thing that I like that I searched for”

        rinse, repeat =)

        • WlfHart

          Wonderfully put!

        • Ben

          I think a lot of the problem is that people come over from FacedBook, create an account, try it for a short while, think “This doesn’t work like FaceBook” and give up. With any new site you need to invest a little time getting to know it and how to use it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and to use what site(s) they like, but for me, Google+ is a great social networking site and I am on it daily.

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    I’m hoping G+ ultimately is THE place to share and respond to information but not so much about being a social network in the way that Facebook is. Sure, Facebook is wildly successful. However, I hate it for 2 reasons:
    1) I totally disagree with their privacy policies (Google isn’t exactly tons better)
    2) People get “addicted” to Facebook and friendships are ruined because they focus more on Facebook friendships than real-life friendships. I’ve “lost” multiple friends because of this although, if you ask them, we’re still good friends (even though I haven’t seen them in person in many months)… *sigh*

    So G+ already has point 1) going against it. It’s not yet failed at point 2) but it seems like they’re trying to. So i really hope Google can figure out something that allows them to be wildly successful that doesn’t “suck people in” like Facebook does.

    Oh, for the makeover, it does look pretty! :-P

    • haz

      Yikes man, Hard knock life huh? In what way do you think G+ can be different than FB? It’s the exact same thing, dood!

      If it’s content you’re looking for… have you heard of twitter? I find it useful to follow tech and music a lot easier than surfing the interwebs. Not trying to troll but I really don’t get your second point… At ALL

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        “In what way do you think G+ can be different than FB?”

        Let me first answer your question with another question. What have you seen on G+ that you are glad you saw and would come back to?

        For me, the answer to that question is long posts with actual content. Posts by JBQ. Stories that people tell. Technical explanations of things. Software press-release-type things. Articles with content that I sit down and read. NOT Twitter-type feeds where all you have are short/brief comments. FB gives you the ability to have these real content type posts but 99% of posts are effectively Tweets or app/game spam. I want G+ to push more towards having an ecosystem that promotes content and not comments.

        “If it’s content you’re looking for… have you heard of twitter?”

        Um, no. Twitter does not have content. It has comments. It does not have content because you can’t fit real content in 140 characters (99.9% of the time, anyways). And hell, Twitter doesn’t even let me go find those comments that are more than a week or two old most of the time. So if you want to call that a content-focused system, it does a pretty piss-poor job at it! However, I doubt you would make that claim. I’m guessing this is just a difference of opinion by what we mean by “content”. So I did want to make this clarification.

    • Phoenix

      I also don’t understand point 2 at all. How have you lost friends because of Facebook? It would seem that if that is really the case, then they weren’t really your friends in the first place?

      • thel0nerang3r

        Your experience may vary, but I’ve had similar experiences as the OP. I’ve talked to friends about “hey, how was blah?” and their response was “I posted it on FB!” In my head I was “B!tch, I”m in front of you.. and you tell me to stop talking to you go check a website?” I’ve gotten multiple people that don’t talk to me,but expect me to learn everything through FB… so, stalking them I suppose.

    • Max.Steel

      I agree with Jaxidian. Facebook ruined some friendships for me. Although I also have myself to blame. It connects you to your friends but also disconnects you from them at the same time.

  • Burnd

    It looks better than Facebook but I still don’t get those circles. =P

    • http://www.ndroidgamers.com B2L

      What’s not to get about circles? That’s definitely my favorite part of G+.

      • dcds

        Exactly. Except that Circles were planned right from the start, which makes it easier to use and better overall. The facebook filters clearly feels like an afterthought, because the original plan was to force everyone to share everything with everyone. Just one huge list of friends, nothing else.

        Google Plus helps me a great deal in being able to contact various people that I don’t know (but that you still want to talk about a subject or two), all while still keeping a separate bubble to my few true friends and family.

    • Sheng

      Circles are like ‘List’ on Facebook to me. Very useful indeed.

  • McLovin

    I have not taken the plunge for a 2nd social network yet. One is enough of a time waster for me.

    But I do know that people don’t take kindly to changes. …”drastically redesigned”…? Whenever FB does any “redesign” it pisses everbody off to the point where they threaten to quit. Then they realize they can’t live without it and just put up with it until they get over it.

    • Morten

      Luckily for Google, none of these people use G+ (at least very few people use it regularly). And the old layout was a mess.

  • cthonctic

    Looks very nice, here’s hoping G+ will see more usage as a result. A better UX is definitely not bad to have.

    So far I’m using G+ mainly as a news reader with tacked on social features but that’s only because very few of my contacts are using G+ with any regularity.

  • mattcoz

    I’m still getting the old design. :-\

    • Jöran Schlömer

      You could try clearing your cache.

  • Trinhbo

    I like that G+ is *trying* to make changes but I don’t know if they focused on the right areas. G+ currently has a growing user base but its main problem is people do not interact with the site for long per visit. Promoting Hangouts helps a little bit but when you’re at work, who has time for “hanging out”?

    One major problem with G+ is the layout, both new and old wastes a lot of space on the screen for what users ultimately care about…the posts from their friends. It is annoying that you can only see 2 or 3 posts at a time on the screen. Pictures are too large. Comments are automatically expanded.

    • anamika

      Agree. They need to use more of the real estate available.

  • awundrin

    Maybe it’s time I check my Google + and blow the cobwebs away. I find it very dull and uninspiring. Facebook is where everyone I know hangs out but who knows, maybe + will catch on.

  • jaydeeIL

    Still seeing the old design.

  • Wayne Mansfield

    Slow down… slow down… all my Google + slides need redoing!!

  • kwills88

    I love everything about Google plus, I’ve been on board since invite only, I just wish my friends wasn’t so attached to Facebook so then I could get the best experience out of G+.

  • Ruben Alvarez

    No new + yet. :( I can’t wait to see it and try it out. Hopefully this convinces more people to join, and I can stop listening to the whining of my family about why I am not on Facebook.

  • haz

    They should come up with a “social network” protocol, so that way people can use whatever shittin system they want and still be able to communicate with whoever. Even FB has email integrated into their system, it’s not a far fetch’d idea.

  • spazby

    I like the new layout – very intuitive and easy to use… google+ keeps getting better and better…

  • Derek

    I dont know who these 170 million peeps are, but I dont know a soul on there. I have over 150 facebook “friends” and not one of them is on G+. I think Google is exaggerating about this.

  • sgb101

    the one thing i like about G+ was its clean layout, it is truly no longer ‘clean’

  • tfifturtyyr@stergh.com

    Google has serious case of OCD

  • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Homncruse

    I’ve said this before, but Google+’s lack of adoption has less to do with their UI and way more to do with the fact that there are almost zero APIs for it, so third-party applications are *very* limited in how they can integrate!

    Release full APIs, Google, and your userbase will grow.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Great strides are being made by google plus. Slow and steady wins the race google plus is fun. Google plus has it’s own feel and one thing is for sure google plus app blows away facebook for android.

  • Jerry

    Google plus is great except for one major problem.. most of my friends don’t use it

  • CW

    Google finally did something right… As Facebook forces everyone into the new timeline profile which everyone hates Google incorporates the old FB profile which is what everyone remembers and is accustom to…

  • SanzaBlancoAkA2C

    One feature I think they really need to change is the difference between Google+ Messenger and Google Talk. They need to be one and the same. The main reason for this is because the only way to currently use Google+ Messenger is through a phone or tablet which doesn’t make any sense. It needs to be integrated with Google Talk or Google Talk needs to just become Google+ Messenger. The reason is so you can continue the chat on your computer or laptop.

  • droilfade

    I would like it if I could collapse the chat on the left and the navigation on the right…push the trending topics to the right extreme and get more space for my news feed. I like this too….that way i would just like it a little more. :)

  1. PaulGuest 3 years ago

    Now are these just people with an Account for people how regularly post? I have an account but have never posted or used it & most of my friends have created an account mainly because they use other google accounts, like gmail & picasa & have also never posted anything.

    • Warden ChinbachGuest 3 years ago

      You give Google+ a bad name. Start using it and others will start as well.

      • Exactly…People that don’t think there’s anything going on w/ G+ aren’t doing it right…

        Think of something you like…search for it on G+…chances are good there are plenty of people that are interested in that exact thing! (especially if that thing is photography, it seems). Start talking to those people about that thing that you like! Maybe add a few of them to a circle called “that thing that I like that I searched for”

        rinse, repeat =)

        • Wonderfully put!

        • BenGuest 3 years ago

          I think a lot of the problem is that people come over from FacedBook, create an account, try it for a short while, think “This doesn’t work like FaceBook” and give up. With any new site you need to invest a little time getting to know it and how to use it. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and to use what site(s) they like, but for me, Google+ is a great social networking site and I am on it daily.

  2. I’m hoping G+ ultimately is THE place to share and respond to information but not so much about being a social network in the way that Facebook is. Sure, Facebook is wildly successful. However, I hate it for 2 reasons:
    1) I totally disagree with their privacy policies (Google isn’t exactly tons better)
    2) People get “addicted” to Facebook and friendships are ruined because they focus more on Facebook friendships than real-life friendships. I’ve “lost” multiple friends because of this although, if you ask them, we’re still good friends (even though I haven’t seen them in person in many months)… *sigh*

    So G+ already has point 1) going against it. It’s not yet failed at point 2) but it seems like they’re trying to. So i really hope Google can figure out something that allows them to be wildly successful that doesn’t “suck people in” like Facebook does.

    Oh, for the makeover, it does look pretty! :-P

    • Yikes man, Hard knock life huh? In what way do you think G+ can be different than FB? It’s the exact same thing, dood!

      If it’s content you’re looking for… have you heard of twitter? I find it useful to follow tech and music a lot easier than surfing the interwebs. Not trying to troll but I really don’t get your second point… At ALL

      • “In what way do you think G+ can be different than FB?”

        Let me first answer your question with another question. What have you seen on G+ that you are glad you saw and would come back to?

        For me, the answer to that question is long posts with actual content. Posts by JBQ. Stories that people tell. Technical explanations of things. Software press-release-type things. Articles with content that I sit down and read. NOT Twitter-type feeds where all you have are short/brief comments. FB gives you the ability to have these real content type posts but 99% of posts are effectively Tweets or app/game spam. I want G+ to push more towards having an ecosystem that promotes content and not comments.

        “If it’s content you’re looking for… have you heard of twitter?”

        Um, no. Twitter does not have content. It has comments. It does not have content because you can’t fit real content in 140 characters (99.9% of the time, anyways). And hell, Twitter doesn’t even let me go find those comments that are more than a week or two old most of the time. So if you want to call that a content-focused system, it does a pretty piss-poor job at it! However, I doubt you would make that claim. I’m guessing this is just a difference of opinion by what we mean by “content”. So I did want to make this clarification.

    • PhoenixGuest 3 years ago

      I also don’t understand point 2 at all. How have you lost friends because of Facebook? It would seem that if that is really the case, then they weren’t really your friends in the first place?

      • Your experience may vary, but I’ve had similar experiences as the OP. I’ve talked to friends about “hey, how was blah?” and their response was “I posted it on FB!” In my head I was “B!tch, I”m in front of you.. and you tell me to stop talking to you go check a website?” I’ve gotten multiple people that don’t talk to me,but expect me to learn everything through FB… so, stalking them I suppose.

    • I agree with Jaxidian. Facebook ruined some friendships for me. Although I also have myself to blame. It connects you to your friends but also disconnects you from them at the same time.

  3. It looks better than Facebook but I still don’t get those circles. =P

    • What’s not to get about circles? That’s definitely my favorite part of G+.

      • Exactly. Except that Circles were planned right from the start, which makes it easier to use and better overall. The facebook filters clearly feels like an afterthought, because the original plan was to force everyone to share everything with everyone. Just one huge list of friends, nothing else.

        Google Plus helps me a great deal in being able to contact various people that I don’t know (but that you still want to talk about a subject or two), all while still keeping a separate bubble to my few true friends and family.

    • ShengGuest 3 years ago

      Circles are like ‘List’ on Facebook to me. Very useful indeed.

  4. I have not taken the plunge for a 2nd social network yet. One is enough of a time waster for me.

    But I do know that people don’t take kindly to changes. …”drastically redesigned”…? Whenever FB does any “redesign” it pisses everbody off to the point where they threaten to quit. Then they realize they can’t live without it and just put up with it until they get over it.

    • MortenGuest 3 years ago

      Luckily for Google, none of these people use G+ (at least very few people use it regularly). And the old layout was a mess.

  5. Looks very nice, here’s hoping G+ will see more usage as a result. A better UX is definitely not bad to have.

    So far I’m using G+ mainly as a news reader with tacked on social features but that’s only because very few of my contacts are using G+ with any regularity.

  6. I’m still getting the old design. :-\

  7. I like that G+ is *trying* to make changes but I don’t know if they focused on the right areas. G+ currently has a growing user base but its main problem is people do not interact with the site for long per visit. Promoting Hangouts helps a little bit but when you’re at work, who has time for “hanging out”?

    One major problem with G+ is the layout, both new and old wastes a lot of space on the screen for what users ultimately care about…the posts from their friends. It is annoying that you can only see 2 or 3 posts at a time on the screen. Pictures are too large. Comments are automatically expanded.

    • anamikaGuest 3 years ago

      Agree. They need to use more of the real estate available.

  8. Maybe it’s time I check my Google + and blow the cobwebs away. I find it very dull and uninspiring. Facebook is where everyone I know hangs out but who knows, maybe + will catch on.

  9. Still seeing the old design.

  10. Wayne MansfieldGuest 3 years ago

    Slow down… slow down… all my Google + slides need redoing!!

  11. I love everything about Google plus, I’ve been on board since invite only, I just wish my friends wasn’t so attached to Facebook so then I could get the best experience out of G+.

  12. No new + yet. :( I can’t wait to see it and try it out. Hopefully this convinces more people to join, and I can stop listening to the whining of my family about why I am not on Facebook.

  13. They should come up with a “social network” protocol, so that way people can use whatever shittin system they want and still be able to communicate with whoever. Even FB has email integrated into their system, it’s not a far fetch’d idea.

  14. I like the new layout – very intuitive and easy to use… google+ keeps getting better and better…

  15. DerekGuest 3 years ago

    I dont know who these 170 million peeps are, but I dont know a soul on there. I have over 150 facebook “friends” and not one of them is on G+. I think Google is exaggerating about this.

  16. sgb101Guest 3 years ago

    the one thing i like about G+ was its clean layout, it is truly no longer ‘clean’

  17. tfifturtyyr@stergh.comGuest 3 years ago

    Google has serious case of OCD

  18. I’ve said this before, but Google+’s lack of adoption has less to do with their UI and way more to do with the fact that there are almost zero APIs for it, so third-party applications are *very* limited in how they can integrate!

    Release full APIs, Google, and your userbase will grow.

  19. Great strides are being made by google plus. Slow and steady wins the race google plus is fun. Google plus has it’s own feel and one thing is for sure google plus app blows away facebook for android.

  20. JerryGuest 3 years ago

    Google plus is great except for one major problem.. most of my friends don’t use it

  21. CWGuest 3 years ago

    Google finally did something right… As Facebook forces everyone into the new timeline profile which everyone hates Google incorporates the old FB profile which is what everyone remembers and is accustom to…

  22. One feature I think they really need to change is the difference between Google+ Messenger and Google Talk. They need to be one and the same. The main reason for this is because the only way to currently use Google+ Messenger is through a phone or tablet which doesn’t make any sense. It needs to be integrated with Google Talk or Google Talk needs to just become Google+ Messenger. The reason is so you can continue the chat on your computer or laptop.

  23. I would like it if I could collapse the chat on the left and the navigation on the right…push the trending topics to the right extreme and get more space for my news feed. I like this too….that way i would just like it a little more. :)