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Words. They’re so… 2012. We live in a world where 140 characters is too many characters. We want video. We want pictures. We want Gifs.
Google+ has taken note of that and adapted its platform to be more photo friendly. First, it ditched the lengthy column and divided its main feed into two rows. Now the eye bounces down the page stopping at memes and baby animal pictures. The layout looks almost identical to Facebook’s timeline, except that it has been applied to both the general feed and the profiles.
Google explained the changes in a blog post yesterday, and also went into detail about their hangouts updates and photo editing additions. The social network now has an increased emphasis on pictures, which means it has a decreased emphasis on links. It’s the perfect example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Take my homepage for example:
Even though I use Google+ for work and try to fill my stream with content marketing articles, my eye immediately goes to the fluffy kitten walking along the fence. Whether or not you’re a cat lover, yours probably does too.
The thumbnail in the article written by Rebecca Kelley isn’t enough to draw the eye when placed right next to the kitten. Even if she used a thumbnail of a designer cupcake or bakery window, the user would still be drawn to the larger image.
With the changes, marketers should rethink how they post links to Google+ and consider pairing it with their Pinterest strategy. Primarily, they should reconsider stock photo use. We’re all guilty of tossing in a last minute stock photo to break up paragraphs, but taking a few extra minutes to carefully select a captivating picture can help when sharing the article on social channels.
Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all make it easy to direct links to a webpage through a captivating photo, it only makes sense for Google+ to follow suit.
Google+ is also trying to streamline the process of taking, editing and uploading photos. It has four different tools that are meant to turn even the worst point-and-clicker into a star photographer. Google+ will automatically store your photos, highlight them to increase their quality, bring the best ones to the forefront and even create a perfect photo by taking the best elements from many different ones. They want Google+ to be a place for photo sharing.
All of these changes are happening for two reasons. First, the Internet has shifted its popularity to photo and video. Don’t tell me what you’re doing, show me. Second, as more Google Glass prototypes start wandering about the globe, users will be snapping photos and video with (literally) a blink of an eye. The two products go together like peas and carrots, it’s only a matter of getting the general public to actually use them.
All of the changes that Google+ has made so far have mimicked other social networks. The design is akin to Facebook, the photo emphasis matches Pinterest and Instagram. Only time will tell if stitching together other networks will create an Internet success or a social flop.