When the new Facebook ‘timeline’ format was made compulsory, there was much talk, and chat with a stranger some outrage on the matter. The new Google+ redesign has made a slightly quieter entrance, although there have been some other noticeable similarities.
Here at The Social Media People, we have been incorporating Google+ into social media advertising campaigns since it was first launched and whilst a redesign this soon in its life time might seem unusual, it might also seem necessary in order to ‘keep up’. Google+’s own blog stated the point was to create a ‘more functional and flexible version of Google+.’ TSMP couldn’t help but notice the similarities in design to the ‘timeline’ format, with the video displays, larger photos, and the cover photo spanning the width of the page. Seeing as these were some of the features that most people actually seemed to like in ‘timeline’, that seems only sensible, if slightly unoriginal.
There have been some raised eyebrows at the amount of white space, with some predicting advertising filling it at one point in the near future. The vice president has assured everyone that is not the case, leaving most people perplexed as to what the function of it might actually be. There are blogs dedicated to the speculation!
For the most part, the function of the redesign appears to be to spruce up the existing design, improve the navigation of the page, and generally highlight the existing features of Google+ that are different to other social media networks. It appears they are trying to appeal to a new generation of networkers that have so far snubbed joining other social media networks for whatever reason. Google have provided a page dedicated to showing people the new format, including the new ‘Hangouts’ page, which enables the user to browse all invitations to upcoming ‘hangouts’ from people in their circles. It also shows the new ‘Explore’ page, which shows content trends across the net.
Google+ is by nowhere near as popular as Facebook or Twitter, and seems destined to be the new kid on the block indefinitely. It’s not because it’s not as good, because it is. Many agree that it’s actually better in places. The problem is that Facebook got there first. Everybody currently wanting to use a social network is already on there, their friends are on there, even their Grandma is on there! It’s a simple case of that they don’t feel like they need anything new. The outcry to the new Facebook format alone should prove that people aren’t keen on change. Google+ will need to prove itself over a period of time in order to get closed to the top spot, and make itself indispensable to a whole new group of social networkers.