April 11th, 2012
Described as an effort “toward a simpler, more beautiful Google“, Google released a significant overhaul to its Google+ user interface this morning. The new design, which is set to roll out over the next few days, was created as a means of making the user experience more engaging and fluid. The updates which include customizable navigation, a dedicated Hangouts page, and a variety of elements designed to increase engagement also included the roll out of new profile pages.
The new profile layout features a Facebook Timeline-esque cover photo feature, which allows both profiles and pages to highlight a select group of photos or a panoramic image to help highlight their personality or brand. By selecting “Change cover photo” users and Pages alike can choose between two cover photo templates.
Scrapbook Cover Photos
The first layout mimics the previous Google+ profile format by displaying a row of images next to a larger profile photo. Each image thumbnail is 110 pixels x 110 pixels and can be clicked on to display a larger image. Google recommends that scrapbook photos be at least 150×150 pixels in dimension and in .jpg, .gif, or .png format.
Panoramic Cover Photo
The other option, which is similar to the Facebook Timeline cover photo, uses a panoramic image across the top of your page. The image, which will appear under the profile photo and across the top of the page is 940 pixels wide and 180 pixels tall and must be at least 940 pixels wide to upload. Images that are larger than 180 pixels tall can be cropped after upload to feature only the section of the picture you wish to use. Google recommends .jpg or .png fiels for this cover photo template.
While the scrapbook format offers a unique look in comparison with Facebook Timeline, Google’s cover photos also offer a unique marketing opportunity for brands and businesses. Earlier this afternoon I verified with Google+ Your Business that Google+ cover photos did not hold any limitations in terms of marketing. In fact, the only limitations to cover photos are those set forth by the general photo sharing guidelines on Google+.
Unlike Facebook Timeline, Google does not limit the use of calls to action, contact information and the like. This creates a great opportunity for businesses to draw attention to promotional content via Google+ that is otherwise prohibited on Facebook.
Love it or hate it, the new Google+ layout is actually pretty impressive. Though most users loved the original Google+ format, revisions and new additions to the social network definitely made the interface more clunky than when it started. The new format is more streamlined and clearly designed for growth moving forward. If you haven’t setup your Google+ Page for business, now is a better time than ever. Be sure to check out our Google+ For Business Setup Guide or contact our offices about our medical social media services, which include the setup of Google+ and a number of other social media services. If you’ve already setup your Google+ page with the new cover photos, feel free to share your creativity with a link to your page in the comments below.