Google+ gets a big upgrade

Posted by Shane McGlaun

I've had a Google+ account since the social networking site first kicked off, yet I must admit I almost never use it.

To me, Google+ simply isn't all that appealing. When I do feel like interacting or chatting with friends I prefer Facebook. I'm sure there are more than a few people out there that feel the same way, so it comes as little surprise that Mountain View  has rolled out a big Google+ update to attract more users.

To be sure, the site has undergone almost a complete visual revamp that Google clearly hopes will make + more appealing and easier to use.

For example, the upgrade optimizes navigation by making it easier to find your way around various data streams. There is also a dynamic ribbon of applications on the left that allows users to drag apps up and down to create a particular order. In addition, users can also hover over certain apps to reveal quick associated actions, while showing or hiding apps by moving them in and out of the "more" area.

Finally, users can now access what Google calls conversation cards - which highlight important discussions among friends. Plus, Google Hangouts now boasts a dedicated hub for highlighting specific popular broadcasts and related items, along with an explore page to find trends on the user's network.

"By focusing on you, the people you care about, and the stuff you're into, we're going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love—from Search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube," Google VP Vic Gundotra explained in a blog post. "With today's foundational changes we can move even faster—toward a simpler, more beautiful Google."

Google says the updates are slated to roll out over "the next few days" and notes that users who don't see the changes now should keep checking in.