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The Google+ Dream Is Still Alive, But It Looks Less Like A Social Network

Google surprised the web by effectively re-launching Google+ with a greater emphasis on group discussion.
Image: Google

Google+ is still around, and it's getting a massive redesign.

On Tuesday Google launched a "reimagined" version of Google+ that puts two core features, Communities and Collections, "front and center." The changes effectively transform Google+ from a Facebook wannabe into a Usenet-like hub for topic-based discussion.

Communities launched in late 2012, about a year and a half after Google+ first launched, and lets users "connect with other people around the things you're passionate about." Think old school message boards or forums, and you've got the right idea.

Collections, which launched earlier this year, is more oriented around specific topics that users can then follow. Topics suggested for me include retrocomputing (check!), gaming (check!), and Star Wars (I've been reading a lot about Star Wars Battlefront in the past few weeks).

Google says the redesign also makes the service "much simpler," with a more consistent look and feel across computers and mobile devices.

This major redesign's focus on group discussion comes after the best part of the old Google+, photos, became a stand-alone service earlier this year. And the emphasis on group discussion is even more interesting when you remember that Google in 2001 bought, which indexed Usenet newsgoup posts going back to 1995.

On the web, users must opt-into the newly redesigned version of Google+ to see the changes. Updated Google+ apps for Android and iOS are due to rollout within the next few days.