Is This Google’s First Steps in Full Product Integration with Google+ and Core Products?

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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