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GoogleApps_May11_C“Change is good,” an adage Google seems to have adopted and implemented with relish. One of the latest changes made was to the layout of Google+, Google’s social network. The new layout is a dramatic change that’s been met with general applause from the tech community. If your company has a Google+ profile, it should have already been implemented.

When you first log into the updated Google+ the amount of white space will jump out at you. It’s a startling contrast to the other social networks. After you adjust to it, you’ll notice four main aspects of the new look:

  1. To the left. On the left is a bar, or ribbon as Google calls it, with icons for the main features. This ribbon is reminiscent of the Windows Task Bar and works much the same way. Simply click on an icon to open the related function. If you have an icon you don’t use, simply click and drag it out of the bar and it will be moved to More.
  2. In the center. In the center of the page you’ll see all your updates along with a bar above them with your top two circles. To the right of your updates you’ll see what’s trending on Google+, the Invite friends to Google+ button and a suggestions box.
  3. To the right. On the far right is a very prominent chat bar with all your chat contacts. Above that is the Start a hangout button which allows you to quickly begin a hangout session.
  4. Up top. At the top of the page you’ll see the search bar, from which you can search Google+ for posts, topics, friends, etc.

Are you in love with the cover photo on your Facebook profile? Do you like having a picture spread across top of your profile? If yes, Google+ now has the option to set a cover photo at the top of your profile. Not a fan of one picture across the top of your profile? You can also pick and choose multiple pictures. Your profile picture and information have been moved to the right side of the picture with your circles below.

New features
There are three new useful features:

  1. Explore. On the left ribbon is a compass icon. Clicking this will open Explore, a page that displays what’s currently trending on Google+. The content shown on this page is viewable by all users, and this gives businesses a great marketing opportunity if they can capitalize on current trends.
  2. Block. On your social network profiles there may be a user who is leaving rude comments or spam messages on your posts. On Google+ you can block the user from posting. Simply go to their profile and select block under their profile picture.
  3. New hangout page. If you click on the hangouts icon on the left hand ribbon, you’ll be taken to the hangouts page. On the page you’ll see current hangouts that you can join or you can start a new one based on any post. To start a public hangout click the camera icon at the bottom of the post.

It looks like Google has taken a big gamble with the new layout, and only time will tell if it will attract more users. If you would like know more about Google+ and how your business can capitalize on what it offers, we’re ready to talk.

Published on 11th May 2012 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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