Saturday, 22 October 2011

What Google+ Brand Pages Could Look Like [PICS]



A few weeks ago, contacted some ad agencies and asked them to imagine how brand pages on could change in light of that platform’s planned redesign.
Just as Facebook was announcing its tweaks, though, Google was on track to add brand pages to Google Plus. Though it looks like that will happen any day now, the integration hasn’t been announced yet. Meanwhile, a handful of brands, including Ford, are already enjoying the possibilities.
There are several barriers to designing brand pages for Plus. For one thing, it’s hard to stand out the way Plus looks now. The somewhat rigid format has a leveling effect. But Colin Murphy, director of social for Skinny, one of the agencies that accepted our challenge, says there are potential advantages to Plus, too. “A primary gripe among Facebook and Twitter users is that brands bombard them with messages they don’t want or care to see,” said Murphy. “In its current form, Plus doesn’t solve that problem, but Plus Brand Pages might, if they implement Public Circles.”
Skinny outlined how this might work with a hypothetical example for Mini, the auto brand. In this case, a Mini Countryman fan could join the Countryman circle and see just Countryman updates in her feed. “This level of selectivity isn’t possible on Facebook or even Twitter, unless of course you are a fan or follow the specific product you’re interested in — but there’s a major drawback to that method because the user has to seek out content streams,” Murphy says. “With Google+ it’s all in one place, and the all the admin has to do is feed pertinent content to the appropriate circles.”
In addition to Skinny, Fantasy Interactive created some fictional Coca-Cola and Starbucks brand pages. Are these on the mark? We’ll know soon enough, but in the meantime, let us know what you think of these agencies’ vision of how Google+ can accommodate brands.

Google to Launch New Version of Gmail [VIDEO]



A new version of Gmail featuring a revamped look, redesigned conversation threads and improved search is slated for pending released, according to an official video that was mistakenly posted to Google’s YouTube channel.

Jason Cornwell, user experience designer for Gmail, unveils the new version in the video. The Google Operating System blog spotted the video and it has since been made private — but not before YouTube user crlsndrsjmnzhad time to repost it.
“Oops, you weren’t supposed to see that,” Gmail representative Andrea Freund tells Mashable. “Stay tuned, we’ll be sharing more info on Gmail’s new look soon.”
But, back to what’s new. “We’ve been hard at work to update Gmail with a new look,” Cornwell shares in the video. “We’ve completely redesigned the look and feel of Gmail to make it as clean, simple and intuitive as possible.”
Here’s some of what you can expect: Gmail will expand dynamically to accommodate any window size; users can adjust the size of label and chat areas; themes will include high-definition imagery; conversations — a.k.a. email threads — have been redesigned for readability and will include profile pictures (conversations look like more status updates); and search has been made more user-friendly, which means regular users can stop worrying about using Gmail search operators and simply input text into fields to find email messages.
This strikes us as the most dramatic change to Gmail since its debut, and likely marks a concerted attempt by Google to modernize and simplify the Gmail interface for the mainstream email user.
Gmail’s makeover has been several months in the making. In late June, Google released the “Preview” Gmail theme as a sneak peek of things to come.

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