Google+ has undergone a makeover, and it’s cleaner, more functional and the best competitor to Facebook the web has ever seen.  There are some awesome new integrations with other Google services like YouTube and they’ve better emphasized photos and video Hangouts.  I’ve been a long time fan of Google+ and tend to think that there is room for another social network for people.  This update proves that Facebook really does have something to fear as Google has improved the user experience in a lot of innovative ways that may leave Facebookers envious.

First of all, the best way to get into the new Google+ is to head over there yourself!  If you’ve ever signed up for any Google service you’ve already got a profile waiting for you, and they offer a cool tour feature that will take you through your paces.  That said, I’ll take a look at some of the cool new features right here.

  • “Trending on Google+” : The hashtags feature of Google+ doesn’t always rely on hashtags themselves, but several of the trending topics do actually use them.  This is a great way to emphasize that Google+ is more than just a private social network — the whole web is free to share and communicate with one another over Google+.  It’s a beautiful fusion of Twitter and Facebook.
  • The right side chat bar: By easily integrating a bar with all my friends and including a big spiffy “Start a hangout” button at the top, the new Google+ emphasizes your real-time friends.  Video chatting is getting more and more popular, and Hangouts are fun and easy.  There will be no easier way to quickly grab a few friends to watch YouTube videos than this new Hangout feature, and since I’m able to also contact Gmail users using this feature, I can imagine this may suck  more people into Google+ as I invite them to my Hangouts.
  • The left side navigation: it’s easy to jump between games, photos, hangouts and my own profile.  The big icons and text organize the site in a far more pleasing way than Facebook.  Google’s challenge now will be to keep things nice and simple.  Right now they have the advantage of simplicity.

Check out a cool video demonstrating the new Google+ here, and let us know if you agree that this is a positive step for the social network..