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Hey, Facebook, look at that: Google just redesigned Google+

April 11, 2012|By Jessica Guynn

SAN FRANCISCO --Google has redesigned its Google+ social network.

The Internet search giant says the face-lift will make Google+ easier to use. And it says more than 170 million people have registered for Google+ accounts.

Google is looking to catch up to social networking behemoth Facebook, which said it had 845 million monthly active users as of December and is expected to cross the threshold to 1 billion users this year. Facebook is also on the verge of an initial public stock offering that is expected to value the company at $100 billion or more.

Google and Facebook are locked in a battle for eyeballs and ad dollars on the Web. It’s unclear how much time people spend onGoogle+, but Google Chief Executive Larry Page says that’s not the point. Google is usingGoogle+to add a social layer to all of its products, including search. That, of course, makes it easier to target users with ads that they are more likely to click on.

"By focusing on you, the people you care about, and the stuff you're into, we're going to continue upgrading all the features you already know and love — from Search and Maps to Gmail and YouTube," Google Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra wrote in a blog post. "With today's foundational changes we can move even faster — toward a simpler, more beautiful Google."

The changes include a revamped navigation menu on the left side of the screen that allows users to move or hide apps, “cards” that highlight important conversations, a hub for Hangouts and a page to discover trends in your network.

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