It seems that Google has gone refresh happy in the wake of the opening up of Google+, in an effort to both redesign the look of some of its traditional services and move to integrate them with the fledgling social network.
It’s not really a surprising tactic. Google+ may have well over 40 million users or so currently – exact figures haven’t been quantified – but there are rumours that adoption is stalling, and questions over how many of those signed up are still active.
And to challenge Facebook, which will soon be closing on a billion members, Google will certainly need to pull out all the proverbial stops.
Thus far that has included a redesign of Reader to shift its social elements and integrate them with Google+, a move that many Reader users have been unhappy with.
Google has also refreshed its webmail service, Gmail, and now it would appear that YouTube is next in line for a make-over and a closer integration with G+.
This is according to various reports across the net from users who have seen the refreshed YouTube, most prominently The Next Web. It would seem Google is testing out the changes by making them available to select users here and there.
So what’s different? The main focus seems to be on building in Google+ features, with deeper integration meaning you can more easily find clips from YouTube shared by folks in your circles.
The interface, home page and colour scheme are also due a bit of tweaking, but nothing which sounds like it’s too radical.
This is a refresh which isn’t on the scale Google applied to its Reader reworking, but still some of the folks who have have seen the redesign aren’t happy with elements. For starters, the new home page has been called confusing.
We’ll have to see it for ourselves, but Google doesn’t seem to be making very many friends with its social network integration strategy, ironically enough.