Google Shows Off Major Changes This Week

new google plus designGoogle has kept relatively quiet lately in regards to changes being made to its most popular apps and products. That silence was completely broken during Google’s I/O 2013 conference. This year Google has gone all out to explain, present, and show off all of the changes it has made to its most popular products. These are changes that are welcomed by users and should also be welcomed by businesses and agencies.

What has changed?

Curious about what Google has made changes to? Lots of people are. The changes are sure to attract more users, which is always good for Google.

Google Wallet

First off, according to Marguerite Reardon at CNET, Google has shifted Google Wallet out of the cell phone payments and into a truer online wallet. One of Google’s latest features for Wallet “is the ability to send money to and from Google Wallet via e-mail.” This makes sending cash to friends and family easy. It also was announced coupled with a “new Instant Buy API” which ties Google+ to making purchases on sites. Marguerite explains clearly when she says to “think of it as a more streamlined PayPal button for Google Users.” I think these changes are great and will start to attract more businesses to including and using Google+ features on their sites.

Google+

Another big change coming out of Google this week is long-overdue changes (in my opinion) for Google+. Basically, think of the changes as a huge facelift with upgrades to the user interface. Samantha Murphy reports for Mashable, that the updates “[include] a new image-focused design that resembles Pinterest and Facebook’s existing layout.”

This was always a big complaint of mine about Google+. I appreciated their straightforward design, but really it wasn’t that appealing to browse through. I think Google has made the right choices and with the past news about time spent on site increasing, I think the new design will only continue that. That’s great news for businesses and agencies doing the smart thing and maintaining a Google+ account, especially if changes like this continue to occur in the future.

Google Maps

I always thought Google Maps was perfectly fine. Turns out I was wrong and there was a lot more that Google could do to make it even better for users and businesses alike. This week Google released a huge update for Google Maps.

Emily Price has a great write-up on Mashable about the updates. What’s most apparent is the fullscreen redesign which gives it a much more welcome and open look. The addition of Info Cards and street view images make it easier than ever for users to find information about businesses in their area. It’s more important than ever to make sure that your business has a presence on Google+ and therefore Google Maps.

Even Google Glass Gets Updated

Not to leave out its previous invention that Google hopes will take the world by storm later this year, Google Glass got some important updates. These came in the form of apps that will bring the most important social media and internet platforms to Glass. As Joanna Stern writes for ABC News, “Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Elle magazine all unveiled new applications” for Glass. I think this gives Glass a chance to be more popular right out of the box.

Why These Changes Matter

These are just some of the major changes that Google announced this week. As you can see, a lot of these changes directly or indirectly affect businesses. Google has taken a huge step forward in terms of making changes that will appeal to users. The more users they get involved in Google+ and their suite of products, the more they should appeal to businesses. I think we’re going to see a lot more focus on Google+ in the near future from businesses and agencies versus other platforms like Facebook.

What do you think about Google’s latest updates? Will you be focusing more on Google+ now?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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