At this week's Google I/O developer conference, the search giant unveiled a sleek, redesigned look for its social networking platform, Google+.
Google+, which has struggled to pry users from Facebook, focused its redesign on usability across multiple devices and added new features, including advanced photo-editing capabilities, a standalone app for Hangouts and auto-hashtagging for Google+ posts.
"These days people increasingly move between devices," says Vic Gundotra, senior vice president at Google. "So to build software that builds real relationships, you need a simple and beautiful experience across mobile and desktop. We've worked hard to make our phone and tablet apps intimate and immersive-today we're just improving them further and adapting their design for the Web."
Here's a look at the new Google+.
Google+ Adopts a Pinterest-Like Design
Google+, which has mimicked Facebook's look with a one-column stream and large cover photo, opted for a drastic change in its newest redesign: a one-, two- or three-column stream, depending on the device you're using. Its new look takes a page from image-based social network Pinterest.
Photos and videos will now fill the entire width of the stream, making it "easier to scan and nicer to look at," Google says. Its new emphasis on images is a change for the social network, which has catered to longer, text-heavy posts from its niche users.
Google has also added animations to this version of Google+. For example, the share box bounces when you post an update, the menus slide and the cards-or individual posts in your stream-flip and fade.
Google+ Auto-Hashtags Your Posts
If you're browsing Google+ and, for example, find a post related to your favorite sports team, a new auto-hashtagging feature will let you delve deeper into the topic and find related posts to read. This feature sets Google+ apart from Facebook, whose search capabilities are very limited.
When you, or anyone in your Circles, submits a post, Google will read it, determine what it's about and tag it accordingly. "Behind the scenes," Google says, "we'll also identify and rank relevant conversations across the network." When you click on the related hashtag, the post will flip and let you browse related content.
Hashtags you add will appear gray; hashtags Google adds will be in blue. While the automatic hashtagging feature is the default setting, you can remove the Google-added tags from your content on either single posts or all of them.
To remove them individually, move your cursor over the hashtag you want to remove and click the X that appears. This action is available only on posts you have written.
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