An update: So I made my earlier complaining post on my computer at home, running Chrome. I then get to work and check google+ in Safari. It looks... completely different?! Either the redesign hadn't totally loaded somehow when I made my previous post or this just looks different in different browsers. I'm going to go ahead and say that this version of google+, as opposed to the one I saw earlier, is much less ugly-- in fact it isn't ugly at all, the design looks considered and well laid out-- but MUCH, MUCH WORSE. It is now not just interface elements but are gray; in comments, google is now expecting me to read GRAY TEXT ON A GRAY BACKGROUND. I am shocked you're not getting an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit over this or something, how could someone with eyesight problems read this? On top of this, the little bitty floating "chat" box is now a huge floating chat BAR-- remember, I don't chat on this website, I use an external program for gtalk-- and since this bar follows me around the page when I scroll I will never, ever, ever be able to dismiss it or scroll away from it, even though I will never activate it and never "sign into chat".
In safari I have a huge block of buttons I don't need on the left, a huge search box filled mostly with empty gray space I don't need on top, and a huge chat widget I will never use on the right, all of these follow me around the page when I scroll and they are imposing on my screen space at all times.
If this is the experience we're going to have with G+ going forward, I'm leaving and not coming back-- for the moment I'm certainly not coming back until it's gone. I was already trying to decide whether to keep using G+ because so many of the people I want to talk to have left over the "real names policy", so if you then force me into an unusable layout this gives me a pretty good excuse for just giving up. Seriously, you're expecting me to use a website where EVERYTHING INCLUDING THE TEXT IS LIGHT GRAY and SCROLLBARS DON'T WORK RIGHT. Like this is beyond just a bad graphic layout-- you have invented completely new ways to fail at making a website. I can't think of a professionally developed website where "problems with scrollbars" was a problem I actually had.