So today I opened the Google home page to check my Gmail account, and I was greeted with this funky image:

Google sidebar

As you can see from the left-hand sidebar, the core products from Google are there for you to access immediately, as opposed to links within your account.

Which makes me wonder – could this be  the first steps in Google bringing all their solutions under one integrated offering? If so, it’d really push Google+ into the mainstream and grab those Gmail users (and web users) that currently have no inclination to try the service.

Google’s already made bold statements about their plans for Google+. If this sidebar is the start of that – particularly the simplicity of the approach – 2012 could be an interesting time for the platform.

Especially if you think of some of the possibilities, if Google were to integrate a drag-and-drop feature:

  • You click YouTube to edit an uploaded promotional video.
  • You add product images from your Picassa account.
  • You tag Google Maps to show which stores are running your promo.
  • You share across YouTube, Google+ and other social accounts – all from one sidebar.

From feedback over on Facebook and G+, it seems this might be a North America-led roll-out to start with – global in the New Year?

Your move, Facebook.

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Blog consulting with Danny Brown

Enjoy this post? Share your thoughts below:


    • says

      It’s usually Gmail, as I check that while commuting. Then Twitter or Facebook, and then maybe G+. So, yeah, if they can somehow connect these guys together… 😉

      • says

        Got to get into the habot of opening my Gmail, but not my preferred email server yet. Interesting ot see when these changes roll out if the take up of G+ is more than just inner circle media people. Not that they aren’t saying anything worthwhile, it just feels like real people aren’t joining in.

        Connecting real people will be the changer, and that all depends on how they really value Google, as they are searching and sharing thoughts on Facebook and Twitter and not feeling like they are missing out just yet.

        Time will tell.

        • says

          You know, that’s probably Google+’s biggest “issue” – it definitely has the reputation of being a geek hangout, and why should people go there when the “normal folk” are on Facebook.

          Perhaps a branding issue to think about.

  1. says

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been really intrigued about what Google is trying to do. Just not sure if I should get really excited, or scared because of how much information that they would be able to integrate, and make easily accessible.

    • says

      I think that’s one of the areas where Google really needs to prove it’s learnt from its past mistakes, mate (the Google Buzz / public email example from a couple of years back).

      Get that right, and prove it, and it gives a healthy amount of reasons to move away from Facebook and its questionable privacy updates.

  2. says

    That would be a pretty useful tool. The only thing that I don’t like about Big G. and FB is their “real” privacy policy and how they sell or use the informations they gather from users. I mean Big G. services most of the times are great but it’s not so clear if using them we’re selling our online soul to the devil. While I’m pretty sure we do using FB. So to speak and it’s just my opinion. :)

    Like what happened to search results, Big G. has taken over and now sends traffic where it does want which most of the times is not where the most relevant or correct informations are. Yes, I’m talking about what happened to the results’ page one sees using Big G. now full of sponsored stuff.

    Anyway it’s not that I don’t agree with your point Danny which is correct as such an integration would be marvelous. It’s just that if Big G. knows everything I do because everything is integrated I would just like to decide to whom I want to sell my online life. Which in my case is no one.

    Does it makes sense? :)

    • says

      That’s a fair point. In fairness, though, when you look at heat maps overlaid onto search results (so it shows the hotspots of where people’s eyes are browsing and clicking), around 80% minimum are on the organic results.

      That would suggest web users are more savvy at ignoring paid search, unless it’s a really enticing offer.

      The privacy, thing – that’s a whole other topic, but an important one! 😉

      • says

        Good point, actually you can’t sail in the sea if you don’t know a little how to handle a boat right? Good that web surfers are becoming wiser or using greater care.

        As for the privacy, well, at least thanks to Europe they’ve been forced to show a bit of it. And FB is next. But it’s still not enough. On the other side data mining and gathering gives huge money. Oh well.

        Happy New Year!

  3. says

    I like google+ much more than FB. I think its been elegantly designed, unlike the geeky (read:Hopeless) interface in FB. I would love to see Google move in such a direction, with a focus on their core projects. Earlier they were trying to get into everything!

    • says

      Hi there Raj,

      I think the UI is much simpler for sure, which is always great.

      I’m not sold on the G+ brand pages, though. Compared to Facebook Pages, the G+ ones are very basic and limited, and may put businesses off from signing up.

      Of course, it depends on what G+ does moving forward…

  4. says

    so you’re saying you like this sidebar? i’m opposed to change. first the gmail set up where i have to hit the little image of a trash can in order to delete something, instead of just clicking the button that says “delete” – sheesh, now this? these changes are too drastic. can’t they have an option that says “old school” and people like me can just use that option and not ever have to change? wait wait, what’s this? i have a new background on my gmail… it’s pretty clouds and looks like super mario world… that’s cool :) alright, i’m pro-change if it means things look like super mario

    • says

      You’re still trying to get your new Vox to work, aren’t you? 😉

      (Note: this is my lovely wife).

      That would be a cool feature, to revert to the original look and feel at the click of a switch.

      I guess it comes down to what Google’s trying to achieve, and from a design interface point of view, perhaps th old version doesn’t allow the functions the new one needs.

      Besides – Super Mario is very cool!

      • says

        yes i’m trying to get the new Vox working. it’s currently downloading 400+ books from my account. ya, i’m awesome. though the Vox is just a hot pink android, you know? what was wrong with the original kobo?
        why fix what ain’t broke, that’s my point

        • says

          Maybe they wanted to break into the Apps market, which is worth millions in revenue each year. Especially with Android acivating 3.4 million new phones on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day alone.

          That’s a lot of Apps users to go after. 😉

  5. says

    Well Danny, you may have pointed out the only thing that will keep me hanging in there with G+. I only have too much time, and so far G+ has been more ‘fun’ than useful TO ME.

    • says

      Yep, I’m with you, Amy. I have to physically remind myself to check G+, whereas Twitter and Facebook especially are second nature to me.

      If Google can bring all the cool stuff together, it might be the difference between staying and going. We’ll see.

  6. says

    I love the side bar. Still trying to decide what I want the G+ feed to look like. Right now I can’t make custom feeds combining circles. It is all or just one. Or maybe they can run some parallel ones.

    But next would be great to integrate the calendar for events for users.

    • says

      Calendar would be a sensible addition, mate, especially for businesses. Promo video, set recurring dates, schedule for social, ping Maps, set up Wallet and away we go. 😉