Google navigation update ditches the ubiquitous black bar for a Google+ integrated navigation menu that includes a drop down menu.
About six months ago Google introduced a new black navigation bar across many of their web properties. The black bar navigation went along with other aesthetic changes to bring the designs in line with their latest effort in social networking: Google+. Google navigation is getting yet another update.
Google Navigation changes
The new Google navigation update ditches the black background altogether. Now Google navigation integrates Google+ and the search box into the same section of screen as each of the web properties logo. So instead of seeing a black bar across the top of the screen containing a list of web applications, you’ll now see the logo which you can hover over and a selection of applications display via a drop down.
Google Navigation reception and ETA
Google is clearly bringing consistency to the UI of their various web properties. I personally like the redesign of most of the applications; they’re easier on the eyes, more visually appealing, and enhance usability. The Google Operating System blog seems to not be so keen on the new design stating:
While the new interface looks modern, it’s also less user-friendly because the navigation links are hidden behind a drop-down menu and the average user might not be able to find them.
It’s fair to say that some users may initially be confused as to why the quick links to other Google apps have disappeared. However, I’m sure that after one hover over the app logo that will no longer be a problem. The only critique I might throw at the new Google navigation is that it uses considerably more real estate than the previous black bar style navigation. What’s clear is that Google is going to bring Google+ front and center. On each page when signed in, you’ll see your Google profile in the top right of the Google navigation bar. This will allow you to sign out, switch accounts, etc. It will also integrate Google+ notifications, as well as Google+ sharing into the Google navigation bar… clearly putting Google+ front and center on all Google web applications.