Google’s answer to Facebook, social network Google Plus (Google +) on Tuesday morning unveiled a major redesign that makes it decidedly more “Facebook-like.”
Among the biggest changes to the website is a completely revamped navigation system, which Google calls a “dynamic ribbon,” moving all of the applications buttons for different content and features over to a gray bar on the left hand side of the site.
The new update also includes larger photos within a Google Plus user’s content stream, similar to those found in Facebook’s Timeline feature, as well as a much larger, landscape photo at the top of the user’s profile page, bearing more than a strong resemblance to the “cover photo” feature that Facebook unveiled along with the Timeline in September 2011.
That said, it is worth noting that Facebook’s recently increased emphasis on photos across its site has been compared to image-heavy Tumblr, so it’s clear that many social networks are making similar conclusions about what users want going forward.
You can get a feel for the new features in the following video ad released by Google:
“Today’s Google+ update extends beyond navigation, the stream and hangouts. For instance: there’s a new Explore page that shows what’s interesting and trending across the network. And a new profile with much bigger photos. And a new chat list that puts your friends front and center. And a whole lot more.”
Gundtora also stated that the motivations behind the redesign were to create a simplified and beautified Plus experience: “We’re aiming for an experience that fuses utility with beauty—one that inspires you to connect with others, and cherish the conversations that unfold,” he wrote.
Finally, Gundtora teased the fact that Google would also soon be redesigning other signature products, including: “Search and Maps” and “Gmail and YouTube.”
The new Google Plus redesign is occurring globally over the next few days. Google Plus was recently compared to a ghost town by The Wall Street Journal due to the reportedly minimal time users spend on the site and the lack of “stickiness,” or return visits, from users. But Gundtora revealed that the site now has 170 million users, compared to Facebook’s nearly 850 million users.