Google has redesigned its social networking project to – let’s not make any bones about it – look a little bit more like Facebook.
We’re thinking of the new large profile pictures running across the top of the page, which is reminiscent of the fresh look of Zuckerberg’s “timeline” profile (yes, the one that has irritated many users who have still refused to adopt it).
At any rate, Google’s Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra announced the revamp on the Google blog, and noted that: “Today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful Google.”
A new interface has been introduced, with a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left-hand side of the page.
The search giant has also worked to improve conversations, facilitating the posting of larger, more striking images (and video), and a stream of conversation “cards” which allows users to more easily scan through conversations.
Google+ has also introduced a dedicated Hangouts page, including a rotating billboard of popular Hangouts to enable you to find more to join. There’s also a new, always-updated list of invitations from the people in your circles.
The social network also put forward some user numbers, claiming that the service now has 170 million registered users – although it acknowledged that not all of them are active ones. However, Google reckons the vast majority, 100 million, have used Google+ at least once in the past month.
Compared to Facebook’s massive engagement levels, and closing on a billion user base, that’s still a long, long way behind. There’s still a massive mountain to climb, and it’s not clear whether – redesign or no redesign – Google+ will ever come close to the veritable Everest which Zuckerberg has built.