Google+ Gets a Major Makeover

If you’re one of the growing millions using Google+ for work or play, there was some news today from Google’s I/O developer’s conference that you might find useful. The search giant said it is rolling out more than 40 different changes to Google+ as part of a major redesign.

During the event’s three-hour-long keynote presentation in San Francisco, Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra outlined a number of the changes, focusing on a new design for the news stream, a standalone Hangouts app and enhanced photo capabilities. The changes, he said, are part of an effort to simplify the user experience.

Since it launched about two years ago, Google says 190 million people are now active on the Google+ platform, with 390 million people using Google’s social tools like the +1 button or making video calls in Gmail. Its user base is growing but still pales in comparison to Facebook’s more than 1 billion active users or Twitter’s 300 million.

Here’s a look at some of the changes Gundotra discussed that are expected to roll out to users today:

A new stream for all types of devices: As more people switch between devices like smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, the engineers at Google wanted to adapt the Google+ stream so that it could be used easily no matter what device — or what size screen — is used. Starting today, the Google+ news stream will feature a multi-column layout. Users will see one, two or three columns depending on the size of their screen or the view settings selected. Photos and videos can span more than just one column, making them “nicer to look at,” Gundotra said.

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