Love and hate: The New Google+ look

Love and hate: The New Google+ look

Summary: Some people love Google+'s new look, others hate it, but no one's indifferent to it.


A year after Google+'s  last remake, Google decided to give Google+ a radical new look and feel. Some users love it, some hate it, but no one's indifferent to it.

As Chis Voss, social media expert points out, the new Google+ looks a lot like Pinterest.

In 2013, Google+ came into its own when it became the world's second most popular social network. That didn't stop Google however from announcing more than 41 major changes at Google I/O. These weren't small, under-the-hood changes. One, the shift from a single content column to Google Now style "cards" in two or three columns with large images that take up the entire width of the display, has totally transformed the interface.

Gallery: The brighter, more colorful Google+

Some people loved this change. Harry McCracken, noted technology journalist wrote in Time magazine, "The service, which was already pretty darn slick, is now among the most attractive and engaging web apps I’ve ever seen." The New Yorker's new technology associate editor Matt Buchanan wrote, "The mobile version of Plus, which has used cards for a few months, by contrast, feels ebullient and rich, like it was inspired by beautiful magazines, if magazines were also living, breathing entities."

So much for the adoration. Others, such as Chris Voss a social media expert and CEO of Strategix One Consulting, look at the new Google+ and see the image-oriented Pinterest social network. Not that's there's anything wrong with that. Still others find it far too busy and annoying.

Me? I found it distracting at first, but I'm getting to like it. If you can't stand it, you can shift back to a look that's something like the old interface. You do this by going to Google+ settings and scrolling down to the Accessibility radio box. There, check "Change the presentation of some pages to work better with screen readers and other assistive tools," and you'll have the new one column look. It is not, I repeat not, a real replacement for the old look.

Linus Torvalds is right. The closer you look at Google+'s new default font, the uglier it looks.

There is, however, another problem: Google+'s fonts. As Linus Torvalds, founder of Linux and a Google+ user, put it, "This is the fuzziest font I have ever seen. Maybe it's the WOFF [Web Open Font Format] rasterizer in Chrome that could suck dead baby donkeys through a straw?" Torvalds is right. The fonts are ugly as sin. Hopefully Google will get them fixed soon.

The other major change is that Google+ Hangouts hasn't changed that much. What has changed is that it brings group video conferencing to Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets. That's good. But, it also replaced Google Chats, a similar Google program. That's bad, according to some annoyed Google Chat users, who didn't necessarily want their Google+ colleagues to be able to "phone" them. Fortunately, there are ways to adjust your Google+ circles to control who can "call" you.

Finally, in addition to Google+ Circles, where you select which people see which of your posts, and Google+ Communities, which are online groups set up for a specific interest, Google+ has now embraced Twitter's favorite topic organizing feature, the hashtag.

You, however, don't have to assign hashtags to a story. Google does it for you. So, for example, if I write a story about Linux, Google will automatically add a Linux hashtag to it. Users, for their part, can now browse related content by clicking on a post with a particular topic. Since it's often hard to know what hashtag to use--e.g. Linux, Ubuntu, open source?--having the system handle it for you if you don't want to do it manually is a nice feature. 

At first, I found the new Google+ interface to be more distracting than useful. That said, even as I was double-checking my facts as I wrote this story I found myself liking it more and more. If you're a long-time Google+ user, I urge you to give it a chance before writing it off. If you haven't used Google+ before, it's high-time you did.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Google, Networking, Unified Comms

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  • People Use Google+???

    I guess not many will care. How many active users? Besides Google Employees and Nerds.
    • yes many do

      and quite a few more than microsoft's failed 'Socl' which has had zero interest.
      • Google Sucks, They keep user's Medical Political Religious & Sexual Records

        Not only collect and store, they want to share it with third parties.

        As long as they collect "Sensitive Personal Information", I would not consider using a Google Service.

        In their Privacy Policy they state:
        We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information.

        They define Sensitive Personal Information as:
        This is a particular category of personal information relating to confidential medical facts, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality.
        • A copy and paste from the other blog on the subject

          I do not use Google for medical, political, religious and sexual(?) information. Why do you?

          Sexual? Hmm. I am trying to imagine what personal sexual information I might let Google in on. I think most of that I keep in my head. Google does not have access to my head - yet.
          • What Do You Call a Copy Cat That Copies a Copy Cat?

            D.T. Long
          • Besides I Feel Justified in copying My Post

            Was it really necessary to break up a report on Google+ and Google+ Gallery in to two separate blogs? I thing NOT! Rationalization or justification? Either way I'm fine with copying my post to both blogs. But then again I am not judgmental about others so I do not have to be judgmental with myself.

            Although it is much better than reading this author's continuous Win 8 bashing. It was getting like he was a broken record saying the same thing over and over and over.

            DT Long, maybe you should stick to the topic rather than direct your comments at others. Think about it. maybe even go back and review your post and categorize them into two columns, comments on the topic and comments directed at others that have commented on the topic.

            If I were like you I would have replied maybe you live such a boring life there is not much sexually or you are so uninformed politically that you can keep it all in your little pea brain. Or maybe I would say your head is so fat you have plenty of room for all your bullshit.
          • D.T. Long In Case You Missed It

            See my posts about you on the "Google I/O by the numbers: 900 million Android activations" blog.
        • My medical record,

          sexual orientation, political orientation or eye color is not sensitive informant.
          Anyway facebook is not any better, people heavily using social networks is probably little worried about those issues.
          • FB is not "admittedly" as Bad as Google

            And FB is one of the most technical inept companies with a Website.

            But on FB I am an open book and my Profile is open to the Public. I love sending up Red Flags at the FBI and NSA. I always post what I do on FB that my family may know what it was to get me abducted by our Government and shipped off to Egypt to be tortured.

            Every time I mention my buddy Teddy Kaczynski, I can almost hear the alarms going off.

            The reason is principles not paranoia not to use Google.

            Google Sucks. They are too good at what they do. Collecting and selling personal information.

            They are so bad even they knew they had to rescind the "Do No Evil mantra.
          • Come on Guys, Bring it On

            I got plenty of Budweiser and Adderall
          • You said it

            After all those very interesting and highly secrete facts about your life who cares if you are bi or hetero, if you got a sore throat last year, or if you voted for Obama or kim jong il.
            Google wants to sell advertising in the best ways, if the process of doing it is based on less humans and more on automated emotionless software - great.
          • David Petraeus Cares

            Google the term "CIA David Petraeus Gmail".

            You may view this from a perspective that Google is not evil and they are not going use what they know against you.

            What if Google is evil? Money and power have an inherent ability to corrupt. Information is power. Who has lots of Money and lots of information? Google has too much power. I will never trust anyone with that much power.

            Is Google evil? Why did Google pay the Department of Justice $500,000,000? Because the Google executive involved could have been charged criminally for their behavior.

            The Department of Justice thinks Google execs should be in jail.

            Who was the source of the information that brought down CIA Director Petraeus? Gmail?

            People think the President of the US is the most powerful person in the world. Who has more power? The White House or the Pentagon? If information is power, how much power does the CIA have?

            Google took down one of the most powerful men on this planet. How many more will (or have) follow?

            How much data does Google have? How much of it did it take to bring down Petraeus? About 2,000 bytes?

            Not bad for a bunch of Geeks.

            Some may say there should be no expectation of privacy when you transmit an email. Petraeus did not transmit the email. It was reported that he would save a draft copy and his mistress would logon and read the draft.

            Then there is Marine Gen. John Allen, another victim.

            So yes there are people that care.
      • should have been called 'zinterest' instead.

      • Was gonna ask, who is number 3

        I don't use google+ but I do like many other google products and I am now firmly in the Android camp.

        But, I didn't know there was a third social network so thanks for the information. I'm not into anything social, but wow Socl really sucks.
      • But nowhere even close to Facebook

        So one could say that Google+ is as large a failure as Microsoft's 'Socl'.
        John Zern
    • How many active users?

      Only 190 million active users every month.

      I'm sure it's nobody.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • If you log into gmail, that counts

        as an active user. Nice way Google skews numbers.
        • don't spread FUDs and lies! Google has announced last year in google i/o

          more than 425 million active users for its GMail so how come according to your theory G+ reduced to 190 million?
          • How about some links that show

            how Google calculates. 'Cause if there's 190 million users out there, Google + sure looks like a wasteland.
          • Wonderful! YOU were the one claiming they foist gmail users as G+

            and now you want ME to bring some LINKS?
            the only link i'll give you is this link which claims 425 active users as 2012 which shows what you have mentioned is wrong: