Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Google+ Rolls Out New Interface

Google Plus Icon
Google+ Icon
As you are probably already aware, DPI is in the process of transitioning from WISPUBLIB, our state library listserv, to Google Communities for Libraries, a social platform that allows more nuanced and searchable conversation to happen between members of the Wisconsin Library Community. There are currently six Google Communities for Libraries:

Public Library Communities:

Other Library Related Communities:

If you’ve visited the communities lately, you’ve probably noticed Google is in the process of rolling out a new interface for the Google+ platform. DPI is recommending the use of the classic interface for the time being. We are actively monitoring the update and will make the recommendation to switch over when we are confident the platform is stable. Here’s what we know so far:

Good news for longevity

The fact that Google is investing money and resources into a Google+ update shows the company is interested in keeping the service around. Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Photos and Streams, said in an interview with TechCrunch that the company relied on intensive user research and even went out into the field to watch how power users interacted with the service.

Mobile first philosophy

Google believes the future of communication and computing will happen on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Unsurprisingly, this new update hopes to optimize the user experience for mobile, touchscreen users. Some features we were used to, polls and events for example, have been removed from the desktop environment. There is speculation that these features will be restored at some point, but as of now they are only available through the classic interface.

Focus on Content

The new update places an increased focus around bringing users together around a certain topic (libraries for example!) and a decreased focus on the traditional social media mindset of adding tons of “friends” to your account. Content, not companionship, is king.

Test the Waters

Martin Shervington, a marketing consultant with over a million followers on Google+, put together a fairly comprehensive video tutorial on getting around in the new Google+ desktop interface if you want to dip your toes in the water a bit.

DPI is partnering with OWLS to provide a webinar on using Google Communities for Libraries on January 26th at 2 pm. Registration for this webinar is open to all Wisconsin librarians. This webinar will be archived and made available for viewing on BadgerLearn Pro.

Written by:
Ben Miller, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning