Google+ aims to stay relevant ahead of Facebook News Feed reveal

Google+ Sarah McKinley
New cover photos are beautiful, but can take up a lot of space

Not to be forgotten, Google updated Google+ profiles and pages with some improvements on Wednesday, one day ahead of an event at which Facebook plans to unveil a new look for the News Feed.

Google+ Product Manager Sara McKinley broke down the updates straight on the social networking service itself, saying the improvements were user prompted.

"We spend lots of time listening to your feedback, and today we're launching some profile and page updates that you've been asking for," McKinley wrote.

The changes added to Google+ include larger cover photos, a new profile tab, and easier info editing.

Google+ cover photo update

Google+ cover photos can go much larger than before with the new update

Google+ improvements

The cover photos at the tops of users' profiles are now several times the size they were before, coming in at up to 2120 x 1192 with a new aspect ratio of 16 x 9.

"This way, more images can be used as cover photos," McKinley explained, "and there's more room for your selection to shine."

In addition, a new tab for Local reviews has been added to users' profiles, though users can choose to hide the tab if they want to keep their reviews private.

And finally it's easier for users to edit their info, as the "About" page has been compartmentalized into separate sections with their own "edit" links.

The battle with Facebook

Google+ has been playing catch-up to Facebook since day one, and the latest update brings it further up to speed while adding some flavor all its own.

Google recently added app Sign-In and Google+ Communities, echoing similar features already available to Facebook users.

In January, Google's social network reportedly leapt past Twitter and Youtube in monthly active users, though the inexact nature of those statistics also raised some doubts.

Now Facebook is preparing to unveil a News Feed redesign that could feature larger photos, new image-based ads, revamped feeds for photos and music, and new ways to navigate and search, at least according to TechCrunch sources.

Wednesday's Google+ update is rolling out "gradually" and should be available to all users soon. We'll see how the changes stack up with what Facebook has in store tomorrow. It could make for an interesting battle of the social sites.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.