Have you had a chance to experience the Google+ redesign and new features? Users may now personalize a sidebar, find hangouts and circles more easily, discover interesting topics with hashtags, and much more. Let's take a closer look at some of these feature and how you can benefit.
The first change you will see is the new 'badge' or photo that stretches horizontally across your profile page. Google+ lets you choose between using one large photo or separate photos, allowing your profile to be personalized. This updated profile also includes a timeline format that gives Google+ a better experience and a more "Facebookish" feel.
This now shows up on the left hand side of the screen and gives you opportunity to move the apps up and down according to your preferences. Apps on the sidebar include buttons to your home page news feed, profile, hangouts, photos, circles, local items, games and pages.
Now more than ever, trending topics are easy to find with the explore app on the navigation ribbon. The new Explore section -- a renamed version of "What's Hot" -- allows you can pull up current trends on Google+ as well as view popular content. It also offers the opportunity to see related subjects through the use of hashtags, fashioning Google+ to be more like Twitter (as well as Facebook).
Explore is really useful as you not only see what people in your circles as well as others outside of your circles are saying. A slide bar on the top gives you a choice of trending topics from others that show up on your home page news feed, ranging from showing every post that is popular mixed with posts from those in your circles, to posts only from friends.
To manage your busy life, you can now follow events before, during and after. Send beautiful invitations, share photos live with Party Mode, see everyone's pictures in one spot, and stay in sync with Google Calendar integration.
With the new layout, hangouts are now easier to manage. Create hangouts on any page within Google+ and find current hangouts on the sidebar app. Find lists of hangouts to watch, ones that may interest you, and featured hangouts.
Photos and Videos
The classic features of photos and videos are still there, but with some tweaks. Your photos and videos are now larger. An “insta-gallery” now appears when you hover over a photo, making it easier to see the entire album.
This icon enables you to share content or recommendations with the click of a button. Adding the +1 button will increase engagement of your brand since +1 users can start conversations about it and also enable recommendations to their friends at the same time. Those recommendations are shared across Google brands. For instance, if you’re searching on Google about a particular hotel and people in your circle have recommended this hotel, the recommendation will show up in your search. Adding +1 and enabling others to share your content means you greatly expand your reach and visibility within your community.
In short, we think the customizable sidebar, larger photos and videos, timeline format, easier ways to hang out and +1 feature are definite upgrades. Are these changes making for a better Google+ experience for you? Let us know your thoughts.