Sprout Blog » Google+ Google+ Google+ Gets a Major Redesign: Check It Out Photo of the author, Samuel Axon by Samuel Axon on April 11, 2012 This morning Google announced that it is launching a complete redesign of Google+ which it describes as simpler, more flexible, and more beautiful. The new version of the social network will roll out gradually to its members over the next few days. Though the redesign doesn’t add much in terms of fundamentally different functionality, it’s a much more elegant and attractive layout for everything Google+ already does. Most notably, the update replaces Google+’s old, bland text navigation sidebar with a sort of modular, graphical sidebar on which you can drag and drop icons. You can re-order, hide, or expose individual features at will — and Google says this is where the company will be housing big new features that are in the works for the social network. There’s also a new portal for discovering new Hangouts (video chats) to join; it highlights popular or public Hangouts worth checking out. It also features an always-updated list of Hangout invitations that you can accept. The news feed of conversations has been overhauled as well; each conversation fits snugly into a uniform subsection of its own, and has big, beautiful photo and video embeds right where you’d want to see them. There’s an activity drawer that highlights important conversations, and a left-hand sidebar that lists all your available Google+ chat contacts. Finally, there’s the new Google+ explore page, which lets you see what topics are trending on the social network and monitor updates and content related to them. This in particular is useful for marketers; they can jump into discussions about what matters to Google+ members and share relevant content if it fits into their respective verticals — kind of like what they do with Twitter hashtags. Pretty much every page on Google+ has been touched by this redesign, including profile photos. There’s no telling if this big update — which is mostly more style than substance — will help the large-but-struggling Google+ community gain more traction with consumers and professionals alike. Is this is the injection of energy Google+ needs? Check out the demonstration videos below and let us know what you think. Google+ Feature Tour Video Google+ New Navigation Sidebar in Action Samuel Axon: Samuel is the Editorial Director supervising Sprout Social's editorial and web content projects. He has years of experience in blogging and social media, having previously worked as an editor at social media and technology news sites Mashable and Engadget. He also helped build the white label web content management system Crowd Fusion from the ground up.