Google+ Redesign Looks a Lot Like Facebook, Pinterest [Video]

Google’s reworking of its social network, Google+ shows that the company has started to marry data with design and craft new experiences.

Google announced on Wednesday at its Google I/O conference in San Francisco updates to its Google+ social networking platform, including a new image-focused design that resembles Pinterest and Facebook’s existing layout.

Fred Gilbert, lead designer for the new Google+, who has worked for Google for over five years, explained that a lot of the new design has been shaped by how the web has changed.

He pointed out that we are sharing more things more often and as a result the social web is getting busier.

“What I saw was a chance to make people and the content they share the star,” Gilbert said. “Everything else just fades into the background.”

The new design bears resemblance to the rather attractive layout Google+ adopted for its iPad and Android tablet apps last June: a three column-wide grid of cards replaces the long list of posts, photos, and comments that currently makes up the Google+ Stream, and high-resolution photos and videos take up the full screen width. There will also be an option to switch to a one-column view.

One of the most-hyped adjustments is the inclusion of related hashtags similar to Twitter. Unlike Twitter, however, Google+ plans to automatically tag posts with relevant hashtags so that users can more easily sort through related content.

“Behind the scenes, we’ll also identify and rank relevant conversations across the network,” Google said. “When you click on the related hashtag, we’ll flip the card, and let you browse related content inline.”

The colors are actually quite neutral, allowing mostly the content to shine brighter, says Gigaom.

“Flatter design keeps the distraction away,” Gilbert said. This new philosophy is reflected in this new version of Google+, which is marked by simplicity and fewer distractions.

The redesign doesn’t just feature a new layout for your Google+ stream — the company has also worked to turn the website into more of a proper app instead of a website. The redesign includes some very nifty animations that should serve to make using the social network a bit more fun.

One of the most interesting announcements to come out of the Google+ I/O speech was the introduction of a new feature called Auto Awesome.

With Auto Awesome, Google+ can automatically transform photos in drastic ways. For example, it can change a set of related photos on the site into an animated GIF file or stitch a series of photos together to create one astounding photograph, informs the International Business Times.

“If you upload a sequence of photos, we’ll try and animate them automatically,” Google said in a statement.

“Or if you send us a few family portraits, we’ll find everyone’s best smile, and stitch them together into a single shot. Likewise with panoramas, filmstrips, and a whole lot more. We call these kinds of enhancements Auto Awesome.”

Meanwhile, Auto Backup — also known as instant upload — will automatically back up mobile pictures as soon as they are taken.

Auto Enhance is a filter that improves brightness, contrast, saturation and so on of pictures, and Auto Highlight helps you assemble albums easier.

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