Google has just announced that it is completely redesigning the Google+ interface, with a new focus on customization, improved photo and video experiences, and a new hangouts interface — among many other changes. While this new design hasn't rolled out to everyone yet, it should be rolling out over the next few days. There's no word on when we might see these changes reflected on the Google+ mobile apps, but those have historically ben updated frequently, so hopefully it won't be long.
Major changes include:
- Navigation has been completely redesigned. Instead of the five button navigation at the top of the screen, Google has introduced a new "navigation ribbon." The ribbon lets you re-order "apps" (which is what Google's calling the major sections of Google+, such as photos, hangouts, or your profile); you can also hide apps that you don't commonly use under a new "more" button. There's also the option to hover over apps to reveal quick actions — for example, hovering over photos gives you the option to add photos or directly view your different albums.
- The stream of posts from the people in your circles has been tweaked — more screen real estate is devoted to photos and video, there appears to be a permanent "trending on Google+" list on the right, and there's a new view of exactly who +1 and reshares your posts. Google says these changes should "make sharing more evocative."
- There's a new view for hangouts — for starters, there's now a dedicated hangout page (or "app," as Google would probably want us to call it) which you can pin in the new navigation ribbon. This page shows all hangouts going on that you can join or watch, with a rotating list of popular hangouts and "pro tips," all designed to help Google's video chatting service get more traction with users. There's also a live updating list of invitations from the people in your circles, again likely to get users to try the service more frequently.
- Google's also added a page called "Explore," which highlights trending and "interesting" posts from around the network.
- Your profile has been redesigned, with bigger photos and a new chat list that's oriented to the right side of the browser.
While we haven't gotten a chance to try the new Google+ for ourselves yet (it hasn't rolled out to anyone in our offices yet), but it looks like Google has left no stone unturned in this revamp. Popular perception is that Google+ is struggling, so it's not too surprising to see Google try and inject some new life in its network, even though it has been less than a year since it initially launched. Time will tell if this new look helps bring more life to the network.