Along with launching a new social sharing (don’t call it networking!) service and adding authorship view to search results, Google changed the way its iconic front page looked today. Phew! I’m tuckered out and all I did was blog. Poorly.
The new front page shrinks the logo a bit, and moves all the links to the top and bottom edges. Most obvious, however, is the black bar across the top that lists Google’s various services. To aid in navigation there’s a small red tab that appears above and behind the specific property you’re currently on, be it Web or Gmail or Maps or whatever. It’s got largely the same links that a signed-in homepage had yesterday, but the colour-coding makes it very obvious where you are, and shows off all those other services in a way that Google hasn’t always been good at. It’s Google explicitly reminding you that it has a lot of tools. And it wants you to try them all!
Interestingly, Google’s official post on the new home page design doesn’t even mention Google+, but this new design is clearly intended to drive you there. Once you’ve got access to Google+ that topside black bar makes a big deal out of it. (Compare the screenshot of what a Google+ enabled homepage looks like above with the logged off example shown in Google’s post.) The link to Google+ takes up the top lefthand link and on the upper right hand side of that bar your profile image appears. But most noticeably, alerts notifying you of new activity on Google+ appear with red highlighting. It pops. It says click me.
If you’re wondering how Google is going try to get people to use Google+, this is your answer. It’s going to invite them in through the front door.