To celebrate turning two, Google+ has announced a new Follow button, a new Communities badge, and updated badges for Pages and Profiles.

Similar to Twitter’s follow button, Google’s version is a standalone plugin that lets visitors follow you from your website. You can see the difference in how the button looks before, during, and after performing the follow action in the screenshot below.

You can also see a live button on Fitness Magazine’s website. According to Google, the Follow button uses the same JavaScript as the +1 button. So if you already have that installed, all you have to do is configure the plugin and add the markup to your page.

Google also introduced badges for Google+ Communities to help community managers attract members across the web. These badges are highly configurable, making it easy to match your site design. When visitors click the ‘Preview’ button they’ll see your community page in a new browser tab. From there they can view recent posts (depending on your community’s privacy settings) and join.

And finally, the search giant revealed new badges for Pages and Profiles. Similar to the badge for Communities, this version is also highly customizable and include portrait and landscape modes, light and dark themes, and turning on/off items like the cover photo and tagline.

Existing badges can be used for up to 90 days, giving you time to configure the new version for your site. After 90 days, Google will automatically upgrade any Google+ badges to the new design. To ensure your badges work well with your site, we recommend configuring them now, rather than waiting for the auto-upgrade.

[Image credit: Julien Haler]