Meet the new Google+” is what you will see when you visit Google+ right now. It’s a prompt offering you the opportunity to try out the new version of Google+ while it is still in beta.
In case you didn’t know, beta is the term given to a product that is still in its testing phase. Public beta (which is what the new G+ is in right now) is where the product is made available to a large audience (the public). That enables the company developing the product to get as much feedback as possible from the actual people that will one day be using it.
Brilliant, but there is a catch. As it is in beta, it means it is not yet finished. So in the case of the new G+ there are a lot of features missing that the ‘classic G+’ still has. That’s okay if you are prepared and understand what you are getting yourself into, plus Google are listening to feedback and making changes as a result. For those that don’t realise what a beta release actually is it can cause quite a bit of consternation.
All is not lost for the intrepid warrior that loses his or her way, because Google give you the opportunity at any time to switch back to the classic G+. At least on the web they do. You may find it a wee bit harder to do that if you are using the Android or iOS apps.
So what is actually different with the new G+? For starters the bold red bar at the top leaps out at you when you first see it. Each of the sections of the new G+ (Home stream, Collections, Communities and Search) are colour coded this way, which is a nice visual reminder of the type of page you are viewing.
The new interface has also been designed so that it gives a consistent experience across devices and screen sizes.
Transitions between pages and different events (opening a post, commenting, etc.) are smooth and slick and there is a general speed increase. You see Google have rebuilt the new interface from scratch, or the ground up as they are calling it, optimizing the experience along the way.
Whether you love it or hate it, the new G+ means one thing. There is no question about Google’s commitment to the Google+ platform. Google’s boldness raises one question. Why aren’t the other social networks this bold?