fickle gods

Thriving on inconsistencies

Google’s New Look and Google+

You’ve probably noticed that on nearly all Google pages, the bar along the top is now black or dark gray. This is just the beginning of a complete makeover that Google is going through. On search results pages you’ll see that the stuff in the side bar is revamped and if you use Google Calendar you were in for a pleasant surprise this morning when suddenly- WHOAH- Google Calendars looked good for a change. You can get this new minimalist theme in Gmail right now, I highly recommend it- it’s called Preview or Preview (Dense). The fact that it’s called “Preview” is a kind of an indication that in the near future this will be the new default look.

Naturally a bunch of people are gonna whine about it, people always do when something changes, but personally I really like it. It actually makes me check my email more frequently because Gmail looks so good now!

Perhaps even a bigger story is that Google opened up it’s doors (though only shortly) for new members to it’s Facebook competitor: Google Plus (Google+). It’s got a slick new interface keeping up with the redesign of the rest of Google’s services but more importantly there are a couple of features that make it a very viable competitor. The first thing you’ll be presented with are “circles”. They’re Google’s take on groups- you choose who you share stuff with based on these circles. The reason it may very well work this time around is that it’s a very easy and intuitive process to stick people in circles and it’s practically a requirement to do so. Unlike Facebook’s “Friends”, Google Plus has a more Twitter-like approach with follows and mutual follows, which is achieved by sticking someone in a circle and being stuck in their circles. It’s still very new to everyone, so if you’re one of the lucky few who got in, play around with it.

Another noticeable feature is “Hangouts”. I haven’t tried it yet, but according to others it’s “Group video chat finally done right”. Be sure to also try out “Sparks”, which is like a live-search for particular interests.

So yeah, I’ve barely been using it for 24 hours (and for part of that I was asleep), so there’s probably tons more to discover. I’m looking forward to see how this turns out, especially when it opens up to the world. I think it will really kick off because Google Plus can become a uniting factor and a social layer between all the Google services that you use, including search. Do you have some experiences to share? Stick them in the comments section below- which is ironically powered by Facebook. Cheers!