google plus refresh 2013Just when you thought you had your Google Plus page lookin' good (or maybe not), they have slipped in some changes on us over night.

Here's what we know:

1. Cover images are now super size. When I say super size I mean super size! Google claims we can upload cover images with a max size of 2120 x 1192. When doing this images will be displayed in 16:9 ratio.

You can see the cover image we quickly threw together below. It took us 5+ attempts to get the recommended image size to successfully upload. It kept getting hung up and freezing.

While I like the big cover, it's a bit too big for my taste. I am a meat and content person so now I simply have to scroll more to see the juicy content I am seeking. I see where they're going and am a big believer in visual marketing. I'm just not sold 100% the cover image needed to be this big. Thoughts?

2. The about tab is now split into sections for your story, places and links. Google claims this will make it easier up to update? Hmmm… not sold on this one. While it does include a splash of color above each section, it's still a “so what” feature to me.

3. New link on left (tab) to the Google+ sidebar for your local reviews. This assumes you'd rather post your preferences, opinions & reviews on Google+ versus other popular  and competitive sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon & even Foursquare.

With a couple searches it's clear my local friends are still not actively using Google nor providing reviews so this proves not useful to me as a consumer or business owner seeking services and products.  Chances are unfortunately this will likely wind up part of search and yet one more thing brands have to worry about getting populated and integrated with their Google platform. Most of us saw this coming.

4 Privacy: Google claims you can still choose who sees what including what fields in the new “about” section. You can limit to specific circles, open publicly or only yourself can view.

5. Global Rollout Timing: They note these changes are rolling out gradually so if you don't see the changes on your Google Plus page, hopefully you will soon.

Image 1: Here is a super quick cover image I threw together. After approximately 5 attempts it finally worked using Google's recommended max size of 2120 x 1192.

google plus cover image


google plus cover image update changes

Image 2: The new about section with the tabs. Haven't prioritized to update this content in awhile. On the list ;)

google plus about section changes

Image 3: Local review page. These are the organic results I received when I typed in my local area including “Lake Nona, FL.” It auto populated and added “Orlando, Florida” since Lake Nona is not yet an official city.

 google plus local reviews


 What are your thoughts? 

Do you like the new big cover image? Or is it too big? Do you see value in the new about sections? Will you or do you already use the local reviews and check-ins feature? Will this update inspire you to post more reviews on Google local? Do you think this is really an update or Google still playing catch up to Facebook and other networks?