google+ improvements cover photo

 

Update your Google Plus profile or pageGoogle+ is constantly fine-tuning and this latest set of updates seemed focused on usability for the less geeky of us. Some are saying they’re trying to look like Facebook, but since I actually prefer Google+ to Facebook I’m happy to see the changes to a more useable and visual interface.

Cover photos
The new cover photos are larger and give you lots of real estate to play with. You can use a photo or graphic with a size of up to 2120px by 1192px and the image displays at 16X9 when fully expanded. Don’t know what to do with all that room? Here’s a nice post with lots of examples for you to enjoy. Need a great image? Photographer Trey Ratcliff shares some fantastic options here, Creative Commons NonCommercial licensed. Go get one and change it frequently to keep people coming back!

Local Reviews
Are you reviewing restaurants, vendors and services on Google? Now’s your chance to show off your favorite places with a new tab for reviews on your profile. You can turn the tab off in your privacy settings if you like.

Editing the About page
The cumbersome process of editing your about page is gone. Now sections of the about page are split up into “cards.” Click the edit link to …well, edit, and then manage your privacy in settings to hide the information you don’t want public and highlight the ones you do.

Phone calls in Hangouts
Adding someone to a Google+ Hangout was a little problematic in the past, but no more. Now you can invite people to the Hangout with a call to the US and Canada for free, and international rates are quite low. Just click the invite button, then the link that says telephone. A keypad displays and you can make your call from there.