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Nick Bennett

Strategy Director

The reinvention of Google+

It’s fair to say that Google+ has not lived up to its potential, once lauded by Google as the most important social network of them all. However, the US-based tech giant isn't giving up on the platform and it is finally getting some TLC.

On Tuesday, it began the rollout of a completely redesigned Google+, one that will focus on the Communities and Collections functions of the platform - much like that of Pinterest.

Launched back in 2011, Google+ technically has over 2 billion users today - a somewhat bloated fact, based on the premise that everyone with a Google account automatically gets their own page on the social network. Recent statistics would even suggest that as much of 90% of users have never actually posted anything on the platform.

This move is not that unexpected as back in the summer - Google VP Bradley Horowitz outlined the role that Google+ would play as a social layer for other Google products.

Google said it has spent the last few months gathering feedback about what users like and the redesign reflects that. Google said Communities, which are forums for discussions about topics of interest, are thriving with more than 1.2 million “joins” a day. Collections, introduced in May to give people and brands a way to organise their posts with topic categories, are growing even faster, Google said.

In the new design, Communities and Collections have been given a more prominent location, at the top of the tab list. In the previous design, the links to those features was buried in the Home pull down menu.

A Google spokesperson described the changes: We’ve made it easier to find Communities and Collections in search, post to Communities and Collections and browse all your favourite content in a beautiful new home stream. The new web experience loads fast and works beautifully on the smallest mobile screens and the biggest desktop displays.

The new experience on the web rolls out today (18th November) and is opt-in. Look for a “Let’s go” link in the lower left hand corner. New iOS and Android apps are expected to launch in the coming days.

It remains to be seen, of course, whether Google’s focus on users’ shared interests will lead to more marketers using the platform. You can’t but help feel this is a boom or bust time for the Platform and in 12 months time, will we be celebrating it as key social media player or towering over its grave?