Just when you thought you had your Google Plus page lookin' good (or maybe not), they have slipped in some changes on us over night.
Here's what we know:
1. Cover images are now super size. When I say super size I mean super size! Google claims we can upload cover images with a max size of 2120 x 1192. When doing this images will be displayed in 16:9 ratio.
You can see the cover image we quickly threw together below. It took us 5+ attempts to get the recommended image size to successfully upload. It kept getting hung up and freezing.
While I like the big cover, it's a bit too big for my taste. I am a meat and content person so now I simply have to scroll more to see the juicy content I am seeking. I see where they're going and am a big believer in visual marketing. I'm just not sold 100% the cover image needed to be this big. Thoughts?
2. The about tab is now split into sections for your story, places and links. Google claims this will make it easier up to update? Hmmm… not sold on this one. While it does include a splash of color above each section, it's still a “so what” feature to me.
3. New link on left (tab) to the Google+ sidebar for your local reviews. This assumes you'd rather post your preferences, opinions & reviews on Google+ versus other popular and competitive sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon & even Foursquare.
With a couple searches it's clear my local friends are still not actively using Google nor providing reviews so this proves not useful to me as a consumer or business owner seeking services and products. Chances are unfortunately this will likely wind up part of search and yet one more thing brands have to worry about getting populated and integrated with their Google platform. Most of us saw this coming.
4 Privacy: Google claims you can still choose who sees what including what fields in the new “about” section. You can limit to specific circles, open publicly or only yourself can view.
5. Global Rollout Timing: They note these changes are rolling out gradually so if you don't see the changes on your Google Plus page, hopefully you will soon.
Image 1: Here is a super quick cover image I threw together. After approximately 5 attempts it finally worked using Google's recommended max size of 2120 x 1192.
Image 2: The new about section with the tabs. Haven't prioritized to update this content in awhile. On the list ;)
Image 3: Local review page. These are the organic results I received when I typed in my local area including “Lake Nona, FL.” It auto populated and added “Orlando, Florida” since Lake Nona is not yet an official city.
What are your thoughts?
Do you like the new big cover image? Or is it too big? Do you see value in the new about sections? Will you or do you already use the local reviews and check-ins feature? Will this update inspire you to post more reviews on Google local? Do you think this is really an update or Google still playing catch up to Facebook and other networks?
All looks fine, but do we really need a header image that big? It’s a little silly lol
Facebook did it, Twitter did it to small and now Google did it to big.
True story. Way too big for my liking regardless what niche you’re in.
I like big graphics, I am more of a visual person, I think it is good for brands that have great photos, graphics or sell tangible items as opposed to ideas. But I can see how this is not as exciting to brand such as yours that is more about your intellect and ideas (while they are awesome, by their nature, not visually “sexy”). In over saturated markets (like mine, travel, or possibly social media) a little creativity could be the difference between a bounce and keeping someone on a page. With shorter and shorter attention spans online, something “shiny” might work to keep them around a bit longer. I wish Google+ would focus more in attracting new members. It has some great ideas but the vast majority of my target demographics are not on G+. It becomes frustrating to spend time on a site that does not play as well with my demographics, but weighs so heavy in SEO.
Yes, agree @google-cd91425f6c025ac8c83543dc1bd0a60d:disqus it depends on the niche. HOwever, more importantly it depends on the audience. I travel, I visit travel sites & G+ pages. I can tell you I am not going to make a decision if I am going to go w/a travel company or hotel via their cover image on FAcebook. I’d rather get to a slideshow, recent posts, weather articles, what I can do there. Yes, the image is nice & may be able to give a good brand image but more brands than not are “not sexy.” We work with brands big & small and very few have time or budget to deal w/images sizes that change all the time and that are too big.
I agree, I think they are focusing on the wrong features & would like to see their effort put in adding unique value to the platform.
I question if it wasn’t for SEO benefit… WHO If anyone would really hang out on G+ besides us geeks?
I don’t work for Google, I like my Apple products, and I do not like gifs or other moving images! I am now looking over my shoulder for the Google police or for my notification that my account had been terminated. Seriously it has great bones if not totally flushed out, but I think that my target demo 35+ is Social Mediaed out and not ready to embrace anything “new”. It seams like Google+ is caught between not being new and cool for the younger demo and the older demo not willing to embrace any new social media. I would much rather spend time elsewhere, where my clients and potential clients are. P.S. If you need a travel consultant, I know a great guy.
I think the change is ok Pam, but what I don’t like is how it was rolled out. No apparent warning – just poof! Unless, of course I missed something. If you do not upload the new sized cover then your public profile is broken. Not cool!
You aren’t forced to upgrade @twitter-224701457:disqus at least not yet ;) Did you get the notice?
Only notice I saw was from a Google employee post on G+
I like this new update. I have also updated my cover with new size.
I use 1696x960px image
See Here >> https://plus.google.com/107076118263214923929
Thanks for this, Pam! Agree about the cover image, plus the shaded area doesn’t feel quite right. The About tab looks better, though. In any case, these changes should just be an opportunity for users to be more creative with their pages.
– Hyacinth @ Wirrl
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Pam, the new cover photo size is just crazy! Are we using Google Plus to just load the screen with a picture, or are we trying to share some information? Now we’ve got to scroll down just to see what in the world is on the page. I’d say they overdid it. I’m inviting everyone to vote on the Google Plus cover photo size here: http://ronvanpeursem.com/2013/03/vote-on-the-google-plus-cover-photo-size/
I completely agree with the author here — the new page images are waay too big — they fill my 27″ Apple Cinema screen in a maxed out browser window completely. This means the user sees no content before he begins scrolling. It might be okay for a PDF file, but not for this kind of social networking in my oppinion. Not a good UX.
You know what bugs me about this, the fact I had just completed updates and brand new banners for clients including myself and then Google goes and changes it. Now all of the banners has to be done again.
What goes up must come down…. the lines that is! The bigger the images the slower the download times, what is this going to do with mobile?
Need recent update size. Please shear it .