Google announced that there were over 40 new features and changes coming to Google+ during the keynote address at Google I/O 2013. We already talked about some of the changes released to the Home Stream, Hangouts and Photos, but more have been noticed that are of interest.
First, the home stream no longer “streams” automatically. While many liked that posts from the people you follow would automatically appear and push older posts down, a lot of people struggled to keep up with their stream, and there were pure technical issues of not being able to +1, Comment or Share on a post while it was moving. Now, your Google+ Home Stream will remain static but a blue button will appear notifiying you that there are new posts to load up.
When viewing a post, new comments on that post from other people appear automatically, without having to refresh.
Google+ Layout Changes
The top region of Google+ has been changed and streamlined. The menu that used to be along the left side is now a pocket menu accessed by mousing over the Home icon. To the right of the Home icon are your top few circles – mine happen to be organized into Notify Me, All Posts, Some Posts and Most Posts. To the right is the new Hangouts icon that reveals conversations and contacts.
At the top of your screen is a clean status update box where you can post text, links, photos, video and hangout, and upcoming events are displayed to the right of that.
Note that if you use the new multi-column layout, the number of columns visible to you will adjust according to the size and resolution of your browser window. Mine happens to use two columns, and goes up to three if I expand my browser to full screen.
When sharing someone else’s Google+ post, the share interface has been changed and really stresses adding your own comment, which I love. Otherwise, the functionality is the same, with the original post displayed and the audience selector for the share appearing below.
The new left menu, in addition to being a pocket menu, has been revamped to better fit within the space as well as describe what’s being accessed. For instance, the old menu had “Explore” while the new menu has “What’s Hot.” “Find People” is now just “People” and is higher up in the menu with Profile and Photos. Pages and Hangouts are no longer hidden under “More” and Settings have been moved here and out of the top right.
Photos that you’ve previously uploaded are now automatically categorized and rearranged. They’re also arranged in gorgeous mini-albums and slideshows.
When viewing your circles within the People section, you can hover over someone you follow and the circles they’re in will enlarge slightly. Your circles are also color-coded now, though there’s no indication yet that you have any control over which colors are used. You can right-click on a circle to edit the name, add a description, and view that circle’s stream of posts.
What other changes have you noticed?