Google+ recently changed around their website and we’re here to walk you through the redesign. Their new focus is on customization, photo and video, and a new hangouts interface, as well as a complete overhaul of the original look and feel of the site. Fans of Facebook will recognize many similarities between the Google+ redesign and the new Facebook timeline. Coincidence? We think not. Without further ado, we bring you the major changes to Google+:
Cover photo and profile picture. The entire header section has become more prominent with the redesign. Your profile photo is now larger and has moved to the right side of the page. Take a moment to make sure your profile photo doesn’t look grainy with the new layout, the new dimensions for the image are 250px X 250px. You also now have the choice between one large cover photo, similar to Facebook, or keeping the 5 image photo strip. If you choose to switch to the cover photo, the dimensions are 940px X 180px. To change your photos click ‘edit profile’ at the top of the page when you’re on the ‘profile’ application. Then, click ‘change photos’. From here you can edit the images that appear on your photo strip, or switch to having one cover photo by clicking on the images next to ‘choose a template’.
Emphasis on photos and videos. Similar to Facebook, Google+ has enlarged the amount of space photos and videos take up on the page. Now visual posts are ‘full bleed’ meaning they take up the whole page width from left to right. Take advantage of this increased real estate by sharing company photos and videos that really highlight your brand.
Customizable ‘navigation ribbon’. Instead of static icons at the top of the page, there’s now a dynamic ribbon on the left hand side. You can customize this ribbon by dragging applications (what Google+ is now calling the various features on their site) up or down to rearrange the order they appear, as well as hiding apps you use less often in the ‘more’ section. Google+ has also added ‘quick actions’ which, when you hover over a certain app on the ribbon, reveals a set of shortcuts such as adding photos right from the home page.
Easy access to top circles. This handy new feature allows you to place your top circles at the top of the homepage where you can easily switch back and forth between them to see what’s new in your various networks.
To edit which circles appear on this bar, go to the ‘circles’ application on the navigation ribbon. From there, drag and drop your two most important circles so that they are beside the ‘drop here to create a circle’ icon. The two circles that are first in your list of circles will also appear as the two circles on your circle tab bar. From the tab bar, you can access the rest of your circles by clicking on the ‘more’ button.
Hangout overhaul. The ‘Hangout’ application now has a prominent place on the navigation ribbon, but you can only access it when you are using Google+ as yourself and not as your business. The new hangouts page includes a constantly updating list of invitations from people in your circles, easy access to public and ‘on air’ hangouts, and a rotation of popular hangouts, tips, and other special features. Use this new feature to keep an eye on hangouts that are relevant to your business, and don’t be afraid to host hangouts regularly for your business. The more often you host hangouts as a business, the better your chances of being featured on the new hangouts page.
Easily switch between your personal profile and your business profile. When you log into Google+ you do so with your personal profile. To access your business page, click on your name or profile picture in the upper right corner. A drop down menu will appear, click on your page’s name to go to your page and begin using Google+ as your business.
Trending on Google+. Similar to Twitter, this feature allows you to see what’s being talked about most on Google+. Before the redesign, you could only find this content by doing a search on Google+, now it’s front and centre on your home page when you’re logged into Google+ as yourself, or you can find it under the ‘explore’ application on the navigation ribbon if you’re logged in as your business page.
Watch this space to see what’s trending on Google+ and, if it’s relevant to your business, share interesting content about the topic to help others notice and circle your business.
Want more information about the redesign? Check out this video from Google:
Contact us if you’re interested in setting up a Google+ page for your business. We can help you with Google+ page set-up, training, implementation and more.