FINALLY! One of the few complaints that myself and others have had about Google+ – managing notifications – is now resolved in the most beautiful and functional way, on both desktop and mobile. Google+ completely revamped desktop notifications last week, bringing much needed order to a chaotic situation. Notifications now exist on cards, and you can allow notifications to pile up a much as you want without fear that they’ll be relegated to the unmanageble “View more notifications” page. Further, simply glancing at your notifications doesn’t clear them out, giving you the ability to keep a notification handy for future action, like leaving a comment. A simple Mark All As Read button is there to clear them all, and even then, read notifications are simply shunted down to a Previously Read section for future reference as needed.
And now all this notification-awesomeness has come to mobile.
Via an update released a few days ago, the Google+ app now reflects the same style of notifications as the desktop, and is 100% SYNCED. Checking notifications on one device now clears it on all ALL devices. There were some bugs when the app update was first made available, but those seem to have all been cleared up as of yesterday. Let’s review all of the changes, with a focus on the mobile version:
Consistent Bell Icon with Numeric Indicator
Just as with the desktop, the notification icon is now a bell that sports a superimposed numeric indicator if you have any notifications available.
Accurate numeric indicator
Before the update, the numberic indicator would tend to stop counting after 9, and just after the update, it wasn’t counting all in fact. But now, whether you have 1 or 20 notifications, you can tell at a glance how many you’re going to have to deal with.
Notification Icon Changes
The numeric indicator goes away when you look at your notifications and the bell icon remains dark when you still have active ones that you haven’t read or cleared. The bell changes to a light icon when all of your notifications are read. This is handy if you’re saving one or more notifications for future action as the dark bell, even with no numbers, will remind you that you have notifications to deal with.
This was a big issue for people who go back and forth, as I do, between desktop and mobile. Getting dozens, sometimes hundreds of notifications a day, and often having to clear out the same notifications on multiple devices, was an annoyance. Google+ has deftly done away with this issue. Once you’ve cleared your notifications on one device, within moments that change will be reflected on all of your devices.
Mark All As Read
As mentioned earlier, the notifications update brought with it a new button at the top of your notifications pane to mark all of your active notifications as read. Wow, what a time-saver!! If you’re geting notifications on everything that happens with your posts, like most people, that means even a +1 from someone can kick off a notification. And if you get plus bombed, well, that used to be a lot manual clearing. You can now dismiss all of your notifications with a single click or tap.
When you clear out all your notifications, you get to see a happy “Mr Jingles” telling you that you’re all caught up!
It is a simply yet very user-friendly enhancement to have all of your old notifications separated from the new ones. And they remain in reverse chronological order so if you clear a notification and need to go back to it, it’s going to be near the top of your Previously Read section.
I really can’t say enough about the new design. I liked it as soon as I saw it. It has great coloring with a nice red right-side border on new notifications, and each notification now has it’s own “card” with nice animation for new notifications and cleared notifications. The color palette is easy to read, and it’s clear which are new notifications and which are read just by the shading.
Additionally, the new design brings better indication of activity on a post, with shares, comments, mentions and +1’s indicated, and a nice facepile tiling of profile thumbnails of the people engaging you on that post.
And with all of these changes and enhancements, notifications are actually delivered faster. Refreshing takes less time, and the responsiveness when acting on notifications is great.
Grab the update if you haven’t already, on both iOS and Android, and check out the new notifications. Do you like them? Do they enhance your Google+ experience?