You might have noticed a new look when logging into your Google+ page. Last week, Google announced that there are now more than 170 million users on Google+, indicating that this social network is becoming more of a contender. Along with this announcement, Google+ introduced a more flexible and functional version of its social network. With a new look and new navigation, Google+ is creating a simpler, more appealing way to connect.

Updated Navigation

The updated navigation offers more white space and a new design. Instead of the static icons being housed at the top of the page, there are now dynamic applications on the left. The icons can be repositioned into the order that best suits you. By hovering over the apps, you can access a list of quick actions, or hide unused apps by moving them under ‘More.’

These changes not only make accessing your favorites easier, the changes were made with the future in mind. As Google states, “[The changes are] giving us an obvious (and clutter-free) space for The Next Big Feature, and The Feature After That. So stay tuned.”

Easier Conversations

Google’s aim is to inspire users to not only connect with others, but to cherish the conversations that generate as a result. To encourage that, the recent changes include:

  • Full bleed photos and videos that will appeal to the eye
  • Streaming conversation “cards,” making it easier to peruse and join in conversations
  • An activity drawer that makes it easier to find the community around your content

Dedicated Hangouts Page

Using live video, Google+ Hangouts pages bring people together and allow them to make a connection. To create more opportunities for connections, a dedicated Hangouts page has been added. Features on this page include:

  • An up-to-date list of invitations received from people within your circles
  • Quick access to every On Air and public hangout to watch a live broadcast or when seeking to meet someone new
  • A billboard that rotates popular hangouts, pro tips and other need-to-know items

By allowing you to see all of the possible hangouts to join, it’s now easier to build relationships and stay connected.

Additional Enhancements

The implemented changes go beyond a streamlined navigation, stream, and enhanced Hangouts. New ways to find what’s interesting and trending across the network has been introduced with the addition of the Explore page. The new profile page features much larger photos, and a new chat lists place your friends prominently in front of you. And a lot more.

To learn more about these improvements, visit the Google+ overview page.