Get All Access for $5/mo

Google+ Gets a Major Makeover At its I/O developer's conference, Google said it is making more than 40 changes to its budding social network in an effort to simplify the design.

By Jason Fell


If you're one of the growing millions using Google+ for work or play, there was some news today from Google's I/O developer's conference that you might find useful. The search giant said it is rolling out more than 40 different changes to Google+ as part of a major redesign.

During the event's three-hour-long keynote presentation in San Francisco, Google senior vice president Vic Gundotra outlined a number of the changes, focusing on a new design for the news stream, a standalone Hangouts app and enhanced photo capabilities. The changes, he said, are part of an effort to simplify the user experience.

Since it launched about two years ago, Google says 190 million people are now active on the Google+ platform, with 390 million people using Google's social tools like the +1 button or making video calls in Gmail. Its user base is growing but still pales in comparison to Facebook's more than 1 billion active users or Twitter's 300 million.

Here's a look at some of the changes Gundotra discussed that are expected to roll out to users today:

Related: 4 Surprising Ways to Use Google+ for Business

A new stream for all types of devices: As more people switch between devices like smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, the engineers at Google wanted to adapt the Google+ stream so that it could be used easily no matter what device -- or what size screen -- is used. Starting today, the Google+ news stream will feature a multi-column layout. Users will see one, two or three columns depending on the size of their screen or the view settings selected. Photos and videos can span more than just one column, making them "nicer to look at," Gundotra said.

Updated content search with Related Hashtags: In a step to "go deeper" with search, Gundotra talked about a new feature called Related Hashtags. Google will read the text and scan the images in each post you upload and automatically assign them hashtags that your connections can click on for related content. Users can remove these auto tags and replace them if they're unwanted or incorrect, Gundotra said.

A new Hangouts app: Google has created a free standalone Hangouts app that combines not only live video but also text and photos. It will be available over Android, iOS and the web.

When a user opens the app, he or she will see a list of conversations, images and videos shared among his or her contacts. Since every interaction is saved in a user's history, he or she can access previous interactions with contacts. Users can opt to disable the history function if they don't want Google keeping tabs on all of their interactions.

Expanded image editing tools: The process of editing and uploading an album's worth of images can take a significant amount of time, so Google+'s new photo-editing tools aim to simplify and speed up that process, Gundotra said.

For adjusting images, Google+ is rolling out Auto Enhance, a suite of simple-to-use editing tools for things like skin softening, reducing red eye and adjusting brightness or contrast. A new Auto Highlight feature can scan your images to identify the best ones, meaning it can recognize pictures of important places or avoid duplicate images or those that are over or under exposed.

Google+ is also increasing the amount of free cloud storage space it offers users for higher resolution images -- 2,048 pixels and larger -- from 5 GB to 15 GB, Gundotra said.

Related: 4 Ideas for Hosting Google+ Hangouts 'On Air'

Jason Fell

Entrepreneur Staff

VP, Native Content

Jason Fell is the VP of Native Content, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Starting a Business

He Turned His High School Science Fair Project Into a Product That Solves a $390 Billion Problem: 'This Has Not Been Done Before'

Vasya Tremsin was just 18 years old when he came up with the idea for outdoor fire sensor company Torch Sensors.

Business News

Why Does Taylor Swift Keep Stopping Her Shows Mid-Song? It's Actually a Great Lesson in Leadership.

Taylor Swift has paused nearly half of her shows while on the European leg of her Eras tour, and the reason is something leaders can learn from.

Side Hustle

This Mom Started a Side Hustle on Facebook — Now It Averages $14,000 a Month and She Can 'Work From a Resort in the Maldives'

Heather Freeman was searching for a way to make some extra cash — and her cousin gave her a great idea.

Business News

YouTube Takes on TikTok With New Tools: 'You Can Build a Business'

Though YouTube Shorts videos are brief, they still draw 70 billion daily views.

Business News

This State Just Banned Small Toiletry Bottles at Hotels

The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2025, for hotels with 50 rooms or more and on January 1, 2026, for all other hotels.

Side Hustle

This 26-Year-Old's Side Hustle That 'Anybody Can Do' Grew to Earn $170,000 a Month. Here's What Happened When I Tested It.

Stephen Alvarez was working at a dental supply company and following his passion for cars on the side — then an Instagram ad changed everything.