Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Google+ UI is working for me: I'm discovering things

Google+ just announced their new UI.  Honestly I have not been on Google+ as much as I have been on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  So I don't know what has been changed in today's update versus changes from earlier update.  But when I took a brief tour of Google+, I can say that it's working for me.

Here's why:

1. UI is easy to navigate for new users.

It is intuitive to navigate the UI.  I think it's because of chunky navigation icons on left hand side bar.  Being able to lay out logical actions that Google+ user wants to do makes sense.  Starting from simple and chunky icon that is easy to understand lowered the learning curve for new user like me.

2. I'm discovering interesting content, i.e. Explore is working for me.

Once I was on, the first thing that I saw was interesting content.  Google must have understood this.  Users are signing on to Google+ to discover interesting content.  Problem with new social network is that first-time user experience.  As a new site owner, you cannot let first-time user figure things out on his own to subscribe users to start getting interesting content.

Right from the Home, Google+ showed a couple of posts from "Hot on Google+".  This solves the problem of user not finding interesting things to look at.  The more engaging content Google+ can surface, the longer user will stay on Google+.

I also liked the fact that I can click on "Hot on Google+" to jump to Explore to keep discovering stuff.  I was able to discover following YouTube clip about an East L.A. boy who built his own cardboard box arcade.  It's exactly what Google+ needs to serve to new Google+ users:

Later found the same video going viral on Google News;
maybe it's time to include Google+ to my daily news source...

3. Setting up a Page was a breeze.

Business Page support on Google+ has been available for a while.  But only today I found a reason to go back to Google+ and spend a solid few hours exploring.  I'm proud to say that I was able to create a Page with a little effort.  

Creating Future of Social Network Page on Google+ took a couple of minutes (and most of those two minutes were spent trying to find suitable photo for the Page, which I couldn't).  Once I found that Page icon was hidden under More icon on the left hand side navigation bar, I was more than a half way there.

It will be very interesting to see how users respond to the new Google+ change.  It looks like Google is doing all the right things to make it more usable social network for users to spend more time.

There is one big missing piece, however.  It's robust and open API to update Google+ status updates and Page.  Google is currently working on pilot testing the API.  Until Google makes the API available to third party, it will be missing one leg on four-legged stool.

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