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Google+ New Design – Is it more functional and flexible or cluttered?

Google Plus( the newest addition in the Google family ) underwent a major makeover. These changes were announced on Wednesday. A Google spokesperson said “The new version of Google+ will gradually start rolling out to all Google+ users globally this morning”.

Google says the new Google Plus is more user- friendly, adaptable and also the feature setting s are customizable.

The most unmissable change is the new navigation ribbon on the left hand side of the Google Plus page on which most used features are displayed such as games, photos, circles , explore and many more. And it is interesting to note that those features that are not used often can be hidden.

In a blog post, Google calls the ribbon “an obvious (and clutter-free) space for The Next Big Feature, and The Feature After That”. Users can also drag apps up and down and also move them in and out of ‘More’.

Features that were not very evident previously have been brought to light. For instance the “What Hot” section in “Explore”is pretty apparent. It also lets you view “ripples” on various posts in the “Stream”.

Photos are the main focus of the new Google+ design. Images that are shared in the stream can now be presented in a large view and flow into the Google Plus stream coherently. Google has also cleared the clutter by hiding icons on the page. For instance, if you hover over the photo icons, you will be presented with more icons to either add more photos or view albums. Through this change, photo sharing has certainly become more extravagant and personalized.

There are also several small nice features that are interactive and useful. For example, shades of Twitter can be seen in “Trending on Google+” display on the home page.

The entire “Hangout” experience has been recreated by Google Plus. A page has been dedicated for just Hangout, where people from your “Circle” can be invited to Hangout (public/on air).

It is a good news for those in marketing, publishing ( even webmasters and developers). Lot of useful hangouts can be found in this section, which is hosted by Google. This feature could be very helpful for content discoverability and video content as well. In fact, it will be a good option to integrate YouTube in this section.

Previously the input box to share updates was very huge. But now, it has been made smaller to share updates, links or photos ( inspired by Facebook?).

In a nutshell, the new look and feel of Google+ is very pleasing and functional. It has taken social networking experience to a whole new level with many improved features. But what’s interesting to note is, what led to this big revamp overnight? Did Google + fear competition? For now, we will have to wait and watch to see how the tables of competition would change.

So what is your take about the new design for Google+? Like it or you don’t care? Let us know your views by commenting below.