Google+ updates with bigger photos and local reviews

A day ahead of Facebook's News Feed event, Google moves to freshen up its social network.

The new Google+ profile pictures feature larger cover photos.
The new Google+ profile pictures feature larger cover photos. Google

Google continues to tweak the design of its social network, updating Google+ with changes to the way profiles are displayed.

A day ahead of Facebook's event to show off changes to the news feed , Google rolled out new profiles that make three key tweaks:

  • Huge cover photos -- 2,120 pixels by 1,192 -- that display at 16x9, or about twice as tall as they did previously. ("This way more images can be used as cover photos, and there's more room for your selection to shine," Google said in a post outlining the changes.)
  • YouTube's updated Google+ profile shows off the larger cover photo.
    YouTube's updated Google+ profile shows off the larger cover photo. Google
  • A redesigned "About" tab, organizing your information into cards that resemble Google Now. A "Story" tab outlines basic information about who you are; "Places" shows where you have lived. Fine-grained controls let you decide which of your circles can see which cards.
  • Profile cards in the updated 'About' tab.
    Profile cards in the updated 'About' tab. Google+
  • A new "Local" tab gathers any reviews of places that you may have done into a single place. If reviews aren't your thing, you can hide the tab via Google+ settings.
  • The new Local tab in Google+.
    The new Local tab in Google+. Google

    By themselves, none of the changes are likely to drive significant new traffic to Google+. But they show the way Google is moving into the second phase of the Google+ project -- having first used it to establish an identity platform for all of Google's services, the company can now focus on turning it into a destination.

    And it's not the only move Google made today on that front. The company also announced developer boot camps to promote its new "Google+ Sign-In" feature . Responding to what it called "huge interest" from developers, the company will host nine five-day boot camps in Mountain View, Calif.; London; New York; Berlin; Bangalore, India; Sao Paulo; Sydney; Seoul; and Tokyo. The boot camps will take place between March 11 and April 12.

    About the author

    Casey Newton writes about Google for CNET, which he joined in 2012 after covering technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is really quite tall.

     

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