Monday, 1 July 2013

Google+ Updates Follow Button, Photos And Badges

To celebrate its second birthday, Google+ has released a new Follow button for websites, updated Google+ Photos and redesigned Badges for Profiles and Pages. Google+ has also released a new Communities Badge, allowing Community managers to advertise their Google+ Communities on their websites.

On Friday, Google’s Vic Gundotra, posted a celebratory message on Google+:

Two years ago we started the Google+ project. We're still young, with lots of growing left to do, but today we wanted to stop (for just a second) and say thanks. It's your support, your feedback, and your enthusiasm that make Google+ so awesome. So let's keep building something to love. Together.

That same day, Google announced changes to various Google+ Plugins, as well as to Google+ Photos.

The Google+ Follow button is a plugin that users can integrate into their websites, which allows visitors to follow them on Google+. Visitors can even add the website owners to a specific Google+ Circle. The Follow widget is compact and, when clicked, confirms the ‘follow’ action. The total number of Google+ followers the user has is displayed beside the button. According to the announcement post on the Google+ Developers Blog, the Follow button is easy to integrate:
The Follow button is simple to add to your website. In fact, if you've already installed the +1 button, no new JavaScript is required. Just configure the plugin, add the markup to your page, and you’re all set.

Google+ has redesigned Profile and Page Badges, giving users more customisation options. Google+ users have been invited to update their Badges now, but the old Badges will be around for another 87 days (it was 90 days on Friday). Users can decide between a dark or a light badge colour scheme, toggle the cover photo on and off, and make their badge landscape or portrait. At the very least, Badges must consist of a profile picture, a name and a Follow button.

According to Google+, Community managers have been requesting Community Badges for some time. Like the Profile and Page Badges, the new Community Badges are fully customisable, but instead of featuring a Follow button, Community Badges contain a Preview button, allowing visitors to a Community manager’s website the opportunity to preview their Google+ Community page in a new tab, without leaving the original webpage.

From there they can view recent posts (subject to your community's privacy settings), as well as join. Returning to your site is as simple as closing the new tab.

Google’s Jon Emerson posted about further changes being made to Google+. Google+ Photos has been improved, “Making it easier to move, download, and upload your Google+ photos”:
  • A new “Move” option makes it easy to move photos between albums. Just pick a few photos in an album (or click the new “Select” link to select all of them) and choose where they go. 
  • Easier photo downloads. Once you’ve selected photos, use the new “Download” option to save them to your computer. 
  • Faster uploading for large sets of photos. We’ve made a few small changes that make adding photos from your desktop an even smoother process.
Emerson goes onto say that Google+ will continue to improve Photos based on user feedback.

What do you think of Google+’s recent updates?


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