Despite being the butt of social media jokes for a while now, Google+ isn’t going anywhere – it has just been given a revamp.
The “new” site will now focus on “collections” and “communities” – making it more an interest-network than a personal one.
In a blog post, Google said: “Today, we’re starting to introduce a fully redesigned Google+ that puts Communities and Collections front and centre. Now focused around interests, the new Google+ is much simpler.
“And it’s more mobile-friendly – we’ve rebuilt it across web, Android and iOS so that you’ll have a fast and consistent experience whether you are on a big screen or small one.”
Another post, on Google+, said the company had been visiting users in their homes to get feedback.
“We’ve spent lots of time talking to people who are passionate about Google+. We visited them in their homes, we invited them into early testing communities and we learned more about how and why they use Google+.
“The predominant answer? Having a great place to keep up with and talk about their interests.”
The company said it had analysed how people were using the network and that people kept on coming back for those features in particular.
Google+ was launched without much fuss in June 2011, as reported on by my predecessor Maggie Shiels.
The grand plan was to mimic our own social circles, of friends, colleagues and family, by having actual circles in Google+ with those people.
A neat idea, but one that people ultimately never engaged with.
At that time, Facebook already had 500m users, and showed no sign of slowing down.
Recently, it’s been looking like Google+ was being slowly and miserably dismantled. Picked apart like a written-off car that still had a few good bits of engine: Innovative aspects, like the Hangouts video chat feature, were spun out into stand-alone services, for example.
Also, the integration with YouTube, which everyone hated, was dropped.
But Google+ is fighting on for another day. Less ambitious than 2011’s incarnation, but with a clearer goal.
Whether anyone will care is another matter. The new look is being rolled out now, and for a short time users will be able to revert to “old” Google+ while the transition is being completed.