Google announces relaunch of Google+ with Community at the centre

Posted Nov 18, 2015 by James Walker
Google has released a public preview of a relaunched version of Google+, following through on promises to make major changes to the unpopular service. The site is now centred around Communities and Collections, the two most frequented current features.
The new Google+ interface after its 18/11/2015 relaunch
The new Google+ interface after its 18/11/2015 relaunch
Google announced its plans to put "everything in its right place" back in July. It said it would work towards creating a "more focused" Google+ experience, the first version of which is available from today.
The company says the new-look website and mobile apps have been "reimagined" to help people around the world discover and share the things they love. It has taken the idea of Communities and Collections from the existing Google+ site and made them the centrepiece of the new experience.
Google says people "kept coming back" after joining a like-minded community or sharing content in a dedicated collection. Communities, created by people looking to find others who share their interests, now see 1.2 million joins per day and Collections are attracting tens of thousands of visitors even to comparatively niche projects. Google highlights the example of the Watch Project collection run by an antique watch hobbyist who is followed by over 40,000 users.
The two areas are now at the forefront of the simplified interface on both desktop and mobile. The old bloat and some of the underused social aspects have been cut out, indicating Google has realised it won't succeed by trying to emulate Facebook and instead should exploit the areas it is already achieving in. Users are encouraged to continue sending in feedback, as vocal fans and critics led Google to go back-to-basics with its social media efforts.
Google's Luke Wroblewski said: "Today we're taking a big step toward making Google+ an even better place for your interests. To do so, we've drastically simplified nearly every aspect of the product. You'll see this clearly in our new navigation centered around Collections and Communities. Collections let you immerse yourself in content about topics like surfing or tiny tilt-shift photography scenes. Communities enable groups of people with the same interests to join up and geek out on anything from Game of Thrones to Painting. With Collections and Communities, discovering amazing things is simple: just follow or join whatever happens to pique your interest."
Accessing the new-look Google+ is as simple as signing in online and clicking "Let's go" at the prompt. It is currently possible to revert to the "classic" version at any time, as not all of its features are available in the new version yet. Eventually, "classic" will be retired and everyone will be forced to move over. Android and iOS users will be receiving an app update with the new interface in the coming days.
Google+ will continue to change over the coming months as things are moved to their "right place," as Google seems fit. One major change in the works is the ability to use Google without a Google+ account, finally satisfying the legions of YouTube users who will once again be able to decouple Google+ from their channels. The forced combination of Google+ and YouTube hasn't gone down well with users since its 2013 debut.