Not to be outdone by Facebook Timeline, Google+ redesigns its layout. In related news, no one notices.
Google+ launched with a bang, reaching 50 million users in no time. Then 90 million, but many people weren’t seeing a lot of activity in their news stream. A report recently came out finding that the average Google+ user only spends 3 minutes per month on the site compared to 405 on Facebook, 98 on Pinterest and Tumblr, 21 on Twitter, 17 on Linkedin, and yes, even MySpace gets more attention with 8 minutes per month.
Enter this week’s complete redesign. The new look adds a bit of customization and borrows a whole lot more.
Most noticeable is a new layout shifting the menu bar from the top of the screen to the left side of the page. You can easily rearrange the features into whatever order you want. Right now, there aren’t many features to arrange, yet. Another noticeable addition is borrowed from Twitter: trending topics. Visit our Google+ page to see the addition of cover images, a design choice most recently used by Facebook’s Timeline design.
It seems Google+ is having an identity crisis. Instead of finding its own niche, the strategy seems to be to take popular features from the leading social networks and hope it will entice people to start using G+ more. On the surface, it seems to be an excellent product; if it had come out 8 years ago, it would be a force to be reckoned with. The problem is it joined the party late. Why would people migrate from Facebook and Twitter to Google+ for the same features? There doesn’t seem to be any added value for the average user. Google’s social search is a good reason to at the very least integrate Google Plus with your website, but until Google comes up with unique and desirable features, don’t expect to see the site booming with social activity.
What’s your experience been like on Google+?