Understanding Google's new design: It's all about cards.

From The New Yorker: "A card will be the atomic unit of information display across all of Google."

See what I did there? I put what we journalists call a "pull quote" as the top line. The reason is that I know in your stream you will see only my "headline" and my first line, and I wanted to make it compelling enough for you to click and read. 

Welcome to the new Google+. 

Some people are complaining about this, saying its anti-writer, anti-words, pro-photos or too much like Pinterest. 

In fact, Google+ always displayed only the first few lines of each post, but now they're displaying fewer. 

Let's be clear about why this is happening: Google is fully embracing the cards interface. A card is a unit of information that could contain anything but which is presented in a format for maximum surface scannability -- you should be able to know everything about that chunk of information just by looking at the card. 

The New Yorker posted a really great piece about Google's use of cards as a core design principle:


That piece echos what I said three and a half weeks ago about Google's standardization on the cards idea: 


The Google+ redesign is part of what Google calls "Project Kennedy," a larger effort to make everything Google makes beautiful, functional and consistent across different services. 

The first reactions to the new embrace of cards on Google+ are natural. But it's time to look at the big picture (literally). Cards in general provide beauty, clarity, functionality and design consistency, among other things. Cards are good. 

More than that: I believe cards will remove a barrier to acceptance of Google+, which is that streams can seem ponderous and heavy. Cards make them feel light and appealing. 

And we can still write a novel in the post, if we want to. But now less of that novel will be presented in the card. 

Also: We need to adjust how we construct posts. Just be aware of what your circle friends will see and will not see when they're looking at their stream. 

Google's new user interface is not anti-writer. It's pro-reader. (And that's a good thing for writers.) 

More to the point, cards are going to take us places -- namely, to places made possible by deeper integration with Now, Search and many other Google properties. And that, too, is a good thing. 
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