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Thursday, 19 January 2017 12:23

A lot of people still use Google+; they're just not who you think

By: 

For many, Google+ may still be seen as the punchline to jokes about failed social networks, but the Google product still has a large and loyal following — just not necessarily among the groups you might think.

And, for better or worse, Google is still invested in supporting the network and its users. The company announced Tuesday that it's officially phasing out the site's "classic" design in favor of a redesigned look that emphasizes photos and minimizes the amount of white space. 

The redesign was actually unveiled last year, but up until now the company allowed users to switch back to the old design. That will change on Jan. 24, when all users will be switched to the new look.

Additionally, Google is adding a handful of other new features meant to appeal to longtime Google+ users. The network is tweaking comments so that low-rated ones are hidden from posts by default, adding the ability to zoom in on photos and bringing back its events feature, which allows users to create and share events much as they would on Facebook and other social networks.  

That all sounds well and good (even if the features are relatively basic), but you might be wondering why anyone is still using Google+ to begin with. The truth is that for all its missteps and flaws, Google's social network has remained a popular destination for certain online communities.  

One major group is photographers, who latched onto the network early in its history as a place to share photos and swap tips. The Landscape Photography Community, more than a million members strong, remains one of the most engaged communities on Google+, according to the company. And, over on Street Photographers, 369,163 members share boatloads of photos a day. 

Those may seem obvious, but there are other oddly specific communities that are really active on Google+. Together, The Art of Bread (for bread makers and lovers), Board Games (for board game enthusiasts) and Toy Photographers (primarily close-up shots of Lego men and other tiny toys) make up some of the most engaged communities, according to Google. 

There are also, of course, groups with large followings devoted to more mainstream aspects of popular culture, like Harry Potter fandom, or Pokémon devotees and One Directioners.  

These groups, by the way, are passionate not just about the topics they engage with, but the network itself. (Don't believe me? Just take a look at some of the comments on Google Plus' own profile.) So, while the Google+ jokes will likely keep on coming, don't expect the company's updates, infrequent thought they may be, to stop. 

Author: KARISSA BELL
Source: http://mashable.com/2017/01/18/who-is-using-google-plus-anyway/?utm_cid=mash-prod-nav-sub-st#50rEkH5nfiq8

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