Google unveiled quite a few Google+ updates at last week’s I/O conference, debuting 41 new features to be exact. In case you haven’t had a chance to check it out over the weekend, here’s a quick recap of the most important Google+ updates social media marketers need to know:
Redesigned Google+ Stream Layout
The new Google+ stream design features a multi-column layout, a responsive design which will display between one to three columns of content depending on your screen size or device. At first glance, the layout is reminiscent of Pinterest’s pinboard layout, however, the new format really shines with the addition of card animations and new hashtag functions.
Google+ Hashtag Functions
While hashtags are nothing new to Google+, Google’s added auto-hashtag suggestions and card animations make Google+ a powerful content discovery tool. Now when post to Google+, Google will try to discern what the post is about and automatically append a suggested hashtag
After clicking on this hashtag, the photo card will give way to a horizontal flipboard of related posts and hashtags.
In the case of our #SEM example above, Google suggested several recent posts relevant to ‘search marketing’ and provided a final slide of related hashtags:
This new hashtag functionality better positions Google+ as a resource for personalized news content, a trend that many social networks, like LinkedIn and Instagram, have recently tried to adapt from Twitter’s example.
More “social” Google Maps
Newly integrated social features with Google Maps are some of the most striking features for local business owners. The new features are ‘invite’ only for now, but as SearchEnglineLand demonstrates, new Google Map filters will sort by ‘top reviewers’, ‘top results’, or your Google+ circles.Plus, Google’s new ‘Explore’ button seems poised to give Facebook’s Graph Search and Foursquare a run for their money. The ‘Explore’ button will suggest popular spots and ‘things to do’ for a particular location based on ‘individual user data, search history, and social data,’ solidifying the platform’s role as a social discovery vehicle for local businesses.
Google+ Cross-Platform Single Sign-On
Also known as “cross-platform SSO”. Users can now seamlessly move from one device to the next without disrupting the Google+ connection via a single Google+ sign-on. Users will sign into Google from one device and grant access to all platforms, regardless if they’re moving from desktop to Android devices or vice versa.Ultimately, the most impactful Google+ changes covered here reflect two main objectives: Supporting a consistent multi-device experience and positioning the network as a resource for tailored news content. If anything, we can be sure this proliferation of new features emphasizes Google’s long standing commitment to social search.