Google+ has launched an updated version of its social platform, where a new design has been put in place, complemented by a restructure of the features it provides.

The change is shifting the focus away from some of its existing business concepts; profile tabs such as business description, reviews, videos and photos are no longer accessible to users. Google+ now centres on Communities and Collections, which are reportedly their two strongest features with a high usage base that’s continually growing.

This change was made partly to facilitate a more mobile-friendly platform, and to create a faster and more consistent user experience across all devices on PC, mobile phones and tablets.

In addition to this, it is thought that Google Plus is attempting to create ad-friendly groups to segment users. Through Google “Communities”, advertisers will be able to pitch directly active groups of subjects or topics, thereby creating clear targeting and a positive to leverage purchase intent. This new platform would rely on organic posts through users to gain traction, but the school of thought is that if specific forum sites are catering to niche needs for users, Google should be able to do the same.

By redesigning the home stream, this latest change has allowed users an easier way to post, search and connect through the platform, with simplicity being the main theme during the process.

The Impact On Businesses

Even with this latest update, Google+ can be an important part of any businesses’ marketing strategy. Through activities like content marketing and social networking, Google+ can still serve businesses a purpose to stay engaged through the platform.

What are the changes you need to make? The ‘reviews’ feature is no longer part of this new Google+ page. Previously, where reviews could be viewed on the “About Us” tab on Google+ accounts, this tab has changed where it has removed the option to see reviews left by customers for the business.

This update does mean that businesses can no longer access reviews. Google reviews are still accessible through SERPs and google map results. If you have a link on your website that goes through to your Google+ page, users will NOT be able to read or write reviews!

Reviews are an important part of local search results, so businesses should still work on sourcing new reviews from genuine customers.

To access the page where customers can read and write reviews, get the URL from your search results, where you can link users on to a review page directly.