So in case you have missed it, the big story from Google+ is that it has revamped itself, yet again. The new user interface seems to have a crossover with elements from Google Inbox. However, the question is, does it even count? For a long time the search engine giant has been playing catch up with Facebook, and is no longer even a contender. As a matter of fact, despite Google’s claim of 300 million users, an independent study suggests that fewer than one percent of Google users are actively using Google+. Facebook on the other hand has become the go to social network occupying mobile, laptops, and i-pads alike. Whatsapp has captured the mobile social networking space comfortably, while Instagram and Twitter have captured user stories, or trends space. So the key question is, where does Google+ fit in, what does it offer that other networks don’t? Here are a few ideas based on the latest upgrade.
Customized Content Feed with Collections
One of the most irritating feature about Facebook is that users have very little control over what they see on their wall. Sure they could, ‘unfollow’ people they no longer wish to see any content from, and mark others as ‘favorite’. Yet, the fact remains that most of Facebook content is not neatly stacked up based on interests. With collections, users can create a content channel that caters to specific interests, similar to a YouTube video channels. This is great for brands who may want to focus on interest groups.
Google Search with Social Goodness
Google seems to be catching up with Facebook with prominent search bar integration. However, when combined with ‘collections’ and ‘communities’, the search results are amazingly fruitful. It lets you subscribe to new collections, which allows easier access to content preferred by the user. Although it’s somewhat similar to what a ‘page’ is on Facebook, from sheer user experience point of view, it’s an improvement on Facebook.
Pop-Up Status Update
One of the most irritating things about continuous scroll design of Facebook is that you always need to scroll right back up to post something. Google+ seems to have caught this loophole and have introduced the ‘pop-up’ status update’ button. The button is in line with Google’s next generation of design enhancements, and allows you to keep scrolling down, and update your status from any point, instead of scrolling up all the way up again. Very nifty indeed.
While these enhancements may not bring doom to other social networks anytime soon, it’s often little things like these that lead to a bigger change. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see the response to these enhancements from other social networks.