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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Google+ Improvements


I have a couple ideas to help improve the Google+ web interface.

  1. The ability to mark posts as read.
  2. The ability to save (or star) posts for later.

Mark As Read

Ever since the release of the soon-to-be-defunct Google Reader (don't get me started about that one) I've yearned for this feature on Facebook, and now on Google+. The ability to mark posts as read will not only speed up the reading process but help users keep up, instead of playing catch up. Side note: if this were to become a feature, Google would need to add 'Sort by Oldest' as well, so posts can be read chronologically.

Starred Posts

This is a simple one. Just the ability to save posts would be great. There is a new Chrome extension (called: Favorite Posts for Google+) floating around that people are using to solve this problem. I don't particularly like this solution though because it's not available on other browsers or mobile phones. I have another solution, that is a workaround, but works on all platforms. Create an empty circle called 'Saved' (or whatever you choose) and then just share posts you want to keep to that circle. No one will see you doing this since it's an empty circle and you can get to the list from any platform. This method even allows for personal commenting on the posts.


I have made a mock-up of what it could look like and I'll try to explain my ideas as best I can. (click for embiggification)
  1. Unread post count should be displayed per circle. The 'All' button would show the total. 
  2. Add a 'Mark as read' option to the post drop-down menu so you can do it manually. Personally, I think posts should be marked as read as you scroll through, but this allows for another method of doing so.
  3. The 'New comments' section would show comments that have been posted on 'read' posts but only since you've marked it as read. This is so you don't miss out on conversations that happen after you've read a post. 
  4. The 'View More' link will take you to a page with all new comments. Total unread count should be shown in link.
  5. Adding a Star button for quickly saving posts for later reading.
  6. Adding the starred count for uniformity.
  7. Once a post has been read, it should be grayed out. 
  8. An additional marker for 'read' posts. This isn't really necessary but I figured I'd include it as an alternative to graying out the posts. 

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