Google + Gets a Facelift and New Features

With over 170 Million registered users but dismal usage stats, Google + was in need of  CPR

Google just announced a major redesign of Google+ “to make the social network “more functional and flexible.”

According to  the official Google blog, the redesign is part of its plan to make Google+ easier to use.

“By focusing on you, the people you care about and the stuff you’re into, we’re going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love—from Search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube,” says Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra in the blog post. “With today’s foundational changes, we can move even faster—toward a simpler, more beautiful Google.”

It looks like Google took a hint from critics and finally recognized that they did not need to reinvent the wheel just make it better.  Did they succeed, it’s a little early to say since the new look and features are being deployed as we speak but we can already see that the home page looks pretty familiar, actually, a lot like a mix of the pre “Timeline” Facebook and the new Facebook interface.

Every Facebook redesign draws a lot of criticism and discontent, but will that be enough to breathe life in Google + and increase time spent on the site, which has been seriously lagging ( a few minutes a month, versus Facebook 7+ hours) and recent CNet statistics showing that March time spent increase 27% over February do little to close the gap.

The redesign does not seem to address the botched integration of Google’s other services particularly when it comes to YouTube, and Picasa

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LinkedIn Rolls Out New Targeted Follower Tools For Marketers

LinkedIn will launch two new functions for companies who have followers on LinkedIn, both of which will be of interest to marketers and advertisers: “Targeted Updates” and “Follower Statistics.”

Targeted Updates will allow companies to segment their followers by a range of variables such as industry, seniority, job function, company size, non-company employees, and geography. Companies will be able to send different status updates to different groups of followers,

Follower Statistics will essentially be an analytics dashboard that will allow companies to see how effective their updates have been.