19. May 2013

So on Wednesday, Google made some changes on Google+. Okay, make that a LOT of changes… during the IO Conference a whole lot of updates were announced and to the amazement of many users, were rolled out almost immediately. But while the changes of the user interface of Google+ are drastic to say the least, the new layout is not altogether new – it’s basically the look of the mobile app adapted to the desktop. The multi-column layout is taking a little getting used to, but it actually works quite well. The reactions from the users range from excited to horrified, but the majority seems to like it – and I have to say, that apart from some small issues, I’m also in favour of the new design.

I loved the old user interface of Google+, but after using the Android app about half the time I was wondering how long the actually rather old-fashioned UI would last. A redesign was inevitable, and I think Google was quite successful with it – for a start, it does look like a completely original creation and now has left Facebook firmly behind. I was a bit concerned regarding the rendering speed since we don’t have very fast computers around here, but apart from the expected slight slowdown in Opera, Google+ now even works faster especially in Google Chrome. The user interface now doesn’t feel like a website anymore, but like a real program, especially when you run it in fullscreen. The new layout wastes a bit more screen real estate, but even on my small 1024×768 notebook screen it’s more than acceptable. Apart from the layout changes, Google has also changed the default font to Roboto, which is really easy on the eyes and now consistent with the Android system.

But there are still some problems to be ironed out. Some photographers have complained about the new photo album system and there have been reports that the photo upload is sometimes extremely slow. I’m not a heavy user of the photo albums since I only throw my images in the photos from posts bucket and use the gallery software on my own website, but some users have real issues with the new system, which disrupted their workflow so heavily that they refuse to post any more photos. There is also one grievance that has hit me: when I want to upload a photo – which works now with drag and drop – the posting box becomes so big that I have to scroll down to use the post-button. This only happens on my 1024×768 notebook screen, but it’s still a little bit of nuisance which could be easily fixed with some smaller margins in the post box. It may be possible to fix this with a modified CSS code, but I have not yet looked into a solution for this.

Overall, the new layout is an amazing evolution of Google+ and while the surprisingly fast changeover could have gone better and there are still some teething problems, there is no reason to believe that Google is going to ignore the users. More control over the look of the user interface would be good and there have been some rumours that this is exactly what Google is working on at the moment. The new incarnation of Google+ will surely be even more improved and there is no need to panic or to do a rage quit. After all, Google is offering us a completely free service and while this does not mean that the users are not allowed to complain, there have been a few (understandable) overreactions in the last few days.

Google+ Icon comes from – much better than the official ones :-).

Kategorie: Google+, WWW
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