Google recently announced the introduction of a new layout, along with several other related features to the Google+ platform. As with everything Google do, some people like the changes whilst others question the reasoning behind it. But the real question we need to ask is: how will the new changes affect businesses?
Social networks are becoming more visual and the vast majority of changes centre around images, since Pinterest burst onto the scene and gained huge success due to their visually dominated site, Facebook have changed their News Feed to become more visual and now Google are trying to replicate this success as well. The updates also integrate with mobile applications and provide a tablet style interface. With an increasing number of screen sizes being introduced to the market, it’s no wonder that the design changes to Google+ attempt to achieve consistency across all devices.
Larger Cover Photo: The cover photo it’s now a huge photo that takes up the entire screen above the fold, giving brands a key opportunity to display an engaging picture of products or even their own staff. Just make sure they’re high resolution.
Improve your photos: Forget Photoshop, now you can enhance your photos on Google+ with these new features: Auto Enhance, Auto Highlight and Auto Awesome. The first two help you to automatically highlight your best photos and enhance the brightness, focus, contrast, and many other aspects in order to create great photos. Auto Awesome takes different snippets of different photos and uses them to create one amazing photo. These features provide a great opportunity for brands that want to invest more into visuals but don’t have the resources or time to create stunning pictures.
Pinterest “style” columns: The Google+ default screen now covers two or three columns. To catch the audience’s eye, brands will have to be creative with their posts and produce attention grabbing images as audiences eyes now tend to skip text and jump straight to the pictures.
Hashtags: The Google+ redesign automatically adds hashtags to the content you share by looking at each post to determine what it’s about and hashtag it accordingly. When users click on the hashtag, the card flips, and users can browse related content right there. Users can also add their own hashtags or remove the ones automatically generated by Google whenever they want. As a brand, use this to your advantage, tagging your Google+ posts with relevant hashtags to make your content more discoverable.
Hangouts: Google have adapted this feature dramatically, the new version combines text, photos and live video across Android, iOS and computers. With better chat integration, Hangouts remains the feature that sets Google+ apart from other networks. The new interface does take some time to get used to, but it’s worth it. The most impressive change being that now, if you have an important meeting or conversation via Google+ Hangouts, you can go back and re-watch it.
Whilst some businesses are still deciding whether or not they should have a page on Google+, many others are already taking advantage of this great network and enjoying its new improvements.
Have you changed your profile yet to the new layout? Tell us what you think about it.
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