Coming January 24th: The Google+ -- Announcement Summary and Commentary
Today brought major announcements for Google+ including significant new features -- including Events -- coming to the new Google+ and the fact that the new Google+ will become The
Google+ next week when classic Google+ is turned off.
Fourteen months ago today, Google announced the new Google+, a complete redesign and rebuild of Google+ from the bottom up. This reflected a huge investment in the future of Google+ by Google, which they said was necessary to overcome limitations they had encountered in the ability to add new function to what became known as classic Google+.
The initial version of the new Google+ was a limited-function version which could be used for some basic functions, but switching back to classic Google+ was necessary multiple times a day for functions not yet available in the new Google+. It's most obvious benefit then was that it was noticeably faster than classic Google+. Google explained that they released the new Google+ in spite of the limitations because they wanted feedback from Google+ users to help shape what the new Google+ would become. They listened very carefully over the months that followed and introduced enhancements very frequently. You can see the full list of enhancement along the way in the following post: https://plus.google.com/+LukeWroblewski/posts/Tw8pQJ9eRMF
Today's announcements brought still more new features to the new Google+ including:
* better management of "low-quality" comments (details in the blog post below)
* the ability to zoom and pan photos (details in https://plus.google.com/+LukeWroblewski/posts/acNFohcUAey
* screen layout improvements (details in https://plus.google.com/+LukeWroblewski/posts/LBBfcQ2RNYT
* the introduction of the Events function from classic Google+ in the new Google+ (details in the blog post below)
And Google has promised more exciting Google+ enhancements in the future.
Some people have asked for classic Google+ to be left in place. There are very good reasons why that cannot happen. Running two versions of a system in parallel is extremely expensive both from an operational and a support perspective. Running parallel systems is actually more complex than operating and supporting two separate products due to the need to maintain compatibility so that both versions remained functional. Google has undoubtedly identified new features they could not introduce in the new Google+ because doing so would have been incompatible with classic Google+. The limitations Google had encountered in the extensibility of the classic Google+ code base (and probably its underlying architecture itself) would have made retrofitting the functions into classic Google+ infeasible.
Turning off classic Google+ will therefore reduce the overall costs of supporting Google+, free personnel who had to maintain classic Google+ during the past fourteen months, and -- most excitingly -- remove the constraints which prevented additional new functions from being introduced in the new Google+. I expect we will see some very exciting announcements about The
Google+ in the months to come.