Another Pleasant Google Plus Refresh

Much like keyword rankings on Google, it’s not a matter if things will update, it’s more a matter of when, how much, and if it’s going to make your life better.

Sounds relatively subjective? Well that’s because while the folks at Google are definitely trying to make a ‘please everyone’ interface for all products, and Google Plus is the latest to get some love, nobody is perfect and everyone is different.

The following video is a bit heavy on the ‘promotion’ and a tad light on the ‘features’ so if you are details oriented you can skip it:

Obvious Changes:

Better use of wide screen format:

  • The left side bar has been iconized with short text labels below the icons.
  • Not only are the icons very easy to see, but they are very easy to arrange/remove.
  • Full drag and drop support for icons makes touch operations much easier.
    ie: You can finger drag someone to a circle without needing a right-click.
  • Having your chat contacts on the right makes good use of wider screens.
  • Larger photo thumbnails are a nice improvement and more modern.

Sharing option is very obvious now:

  • The improved share input area is really easy to understand.
  • Minimalists can still use the old pop-out Share menu linked to your profile image.

Focus on Chat

  • Because your contacts are visible on the left chat is icon-less
  • Removing the icon has removed the useless indent in the chat window:
    New Google Plus chat UI
  • If you liked staring at your profile image you can always switch back to GMail and chat there.

On the BAD side of things:

I was shocked at what you can’t drag to the side bar. If I want to play a single game, I’d rather have it than the ‘Games’ link?

Lonely neck-beards all over Reddit have been mocking the extra space on their wide screens with 16:9 ratios.

Thing is that the chat windows fill that space if you have 2 or more people you chat with constantly, and most people do. Sadly the meme is so popular that #usesforwhitespace is actually a trending topic and leaves me doing my best impression of Jean Luc.

Does this do anything for the folks who see G+ as the arch-nemesis of FB? Heck no!

In fact there’s a fresh batch of very pointless debates raging about how ‘G+ is unwilling to post user statistics because it’s an embarrassment.‘ which is another face-palm because they publish that info all the time (currently @ 170 million active Google+ accounts, 90 million accounts were created in the last 2 months alone) but unlike FB it’s not a bragging point since Google is clearly not interested in user counts.

If Google+ cared about user statistics they wouldn’t care if the accounts were active or not when publishing their stats, and they wouldn’t have worked so hard to allow people to use the system without making accounts (unlike Facebook/Twitter).

To quote John Lydgate:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

The whole self mockery reminds me of this awkward/embarrassing clip demonstrating the temple of promotion that is ‘Hawaii Five-O’ attempting to establish a new ‘slang phrase’for Microsoft while showing off a Windows 7 phone :

Amazingly bad..

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