Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Google Plus Gets a Facelift

Okay, so Google released a new version of Google Plus this morning.  I was logged in with the old look, clicked on something, and everything changed.

First impressions?

I like it.  It's elegant and original.  It's still fairly simple in design, and I'm finding it easy to use so far.

I've been reading some complaints on Google+ today, and there seems to be three.  First, people with large hi-res monitors don't like all the white space and don't like how it looks.  Second, people think the adding of the cover photo makes the profiles look too much like Facebook's profiles.  And three, people don't like the chat panel at the right hand side.

Google Plus in Wide Screen View
On the first one, I run Windows 7 on a laptop, with a second monitor that's 21 inches, wide screen.  If I make it full screen on the big monitor, yes, there's too much white space, and it looks goofy.  But I normally run Chrome docked on the right hand side of the big monitor, so that it's only half a screen, and the new layout looks quite nice that way.

Google Plus in Narrow Screen View
On the second, though there are similarities, I really don't think they look that much alike.  The profile picture on Google+ is on the opposite side as the one on Facebook, and instead of being a small picture overlapping a fairly tall cover photo, n Google+, the profile picture is large, with the cover photo passing behind it in the centre and showing a small amount on the other side.  The Google+ cover photo is much narrower and longer than the Facebook one.  The name is at the top above the cover photo rather than below like Facebook.  In Google+, the friend related information is on the right of the stream instead of above it like Facebook.  Facebook's Timeline of course has a two column profile stream, whereas Google+ is a single column.  So basically, the types of content are very similar, but the layout and design are much different.

Facebook Profile
On the third, running the browser narrower like I described above completely hides the chat module.  Even scrolling over, it isn't visible.  So it's not really a problem if you run the browser narrower.

The other complaint I've heard is that it's not very intuitive.  I actually haven't had a problem with that.  It all comes naturally on the new interface for me.  Maybe it's just written for the way I think.

Google Plus Profile
Biggest strengths?

I think the profile looks classier than it did, and more business like.  While Facebook's Timeline does look nice, it feels like something that's good for personal things, not for a business.  The Google+ profiles feel very professional, and though not as "fun", seems like a much better design for business.

As expected, and this was already part of Google+, Google Plus has a much better search ability than Facebook.  That has always been my biggest complaint about Facebook.

The sidebar controls take up less vertical real estate, so I don't have to scroll as much as I did in the old interface and in the current Facebook.  And the fact that the bar stays static makes using it much easier.

Biggest weaknesses?

I haven't really found any that cause me a problem.  I think the biggest weakness is that while the new design is definitely an improvement in my opinion, it didn't really fix any existing issues Google+ already had.  It's just basically an interface face lift, not a bug fix or a solution to known issues.  And the added features like Explore and new ways to find people don't seem to be too useful, at least to me.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional

1 comment:

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