Since June this year, Google has been re-designing the look & fell of all its Products and Services to be in-line with the Google+ interface. However, it is not just about consistency, it's also a way to show that they're part of the same super-service, an encompassing layer that makes them work together.
If you think, Google+ is just a separate service, that you can easily ignore, you were wrong -- read on -- in an interview with Wired's Steven Levy, Google's VP of products, Bradley Horowitz, says that "Google+ is actually Google itself."
Excerpt from the interview:
Wired: How was working on Google+ different from working on the company's previous offerings?
Horowitz: Until now, every single Google property acted like a separate company. Due to the way we grew, through various acquisitions and the fierce independence of each division within Google, each product sort of veered off in its own direction. That was dizzying. But Google+ is Google itself. We're extending it across all that we do--search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube--so that each of those services contributes to our understanding of who you are.
When asked about the Google+ real-names issue -- Horowitz commented that "I've gotten feedback from women who say that the accountability of real names makes them feel much more comfortable in Google+."
Wired: Some users are chafing at Google's insistence that they provide real names. Explain the policy against pseudonyms.
Horowitz: Google believes in three modes of usage--anonymous, pseudonymous, and identified, and we have a spectrum of products that use all three. For anonymity, you can go into incognito mode in Chrome and the information associated with using the browser is not retained. Gmail and Blogger are pseudonymous--you can go be firstname.lastname@example.org. But with products like Google Checkout, you're doing a financial transaction and you have to use your real name.For now, Google+ falls into that last category. There are great debates going on about this--I saw one comment yesterday that claimed that pseudonyms protect the experience of women in the system. I felt compelled to respond, because I've gotten feedback from women who say that the accountability of real names makes them feel much more comfortable in Google+.
For the Google+ features in the future - Horowitz said, "Google+ introduces a new means of sharing, and one of the things that people love to share is media. People are already sharing fun media on the service, like animated GIFs. We're not ready to announce anything now, but I think you can extrapolate and say Google+ is a good way to share mass media as well. That could take the form of people listening or watching something together in Hangouts."