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New Red and White Google +1 Buttons; Google Counters Google Plus Usage Numbers

The ubiquitious +1 button is now sporting a fresh coat of paint, following in the footsteps of the new red and white of Google+ icon. Starting today, this update will be visible first to Google+ Platform Preview Group and shortly thereafter will be rolled out to the public, informs Google.

While the new buttons are more consistent and include the Google+ branding, the old buttons are more colorful and more descriptive. “+1” is bigger and more obvious in the old buttons and that made them more clickable.

Google notes, that the websites that have already installed +1 buttons’ will have to do nothing, and the update will happen automatically.

Check out the new pixels:

New Google+ button with red and white

Here’s the tiny +1 button from Google+:

… and here’s the +1 button from Google Groups:

You can compare the different versions of the +1 (v1) and +1 (v2) using the corresponding sprites. I’d choose the old buttons (see the embed below).

Stop by the updated configuration tool to see how these changes look across all the various sizes and shapes of the +1 button.

In other Google+ news, reponding to comScore’s latest revelation that “Google+ users averaged only three minutes on the site during January, a pittance compared to Facebook’s average of 405 minutes per visitor” — Although Google did not share the amount of time people spend on Google Plus, the company said numbers did not illustrate what was really happening at Google.

Vic Gundotra, Google VP says, “This is just the next version of Google. Everything is being upgraded. We already have users. We’re now upgrading them to what we consider Google 2.0.”

Google cited advertising as a prime example of the success of Google Plus. Gundotra said that any advertisement on Google that has a “social annotation” to it, specifically someone who has clicked the +1 button on an ad, is experiencing a drastic increase in engagement.

“We are seeing 5 to 10 percent click-through-rate uplift on any ad that has a social annotation on our own Web sites,” Gundotra said. “We have been in this business for a long time, and there are very few things that give you a 5 to 10 percent increase on ad engagement.”

In response to the public perception of Google Plus, the company said it has decided to share some of the user numbers for Google Plus. About 50 million people who have created a Google Plus account actively use the company’s Google Plus-enhanced products daily, Mr. Gundotra said. Over a 30-day period, he said, that number is 100 million active users.

In other Google news, Google seems to be updating Gmail’s loading screen. The new progress bar and the “loading” message are now centered and no longer look like an afterthought.

In the new Gmail interface you’ll also see the loading page when you pick a different theme and that’s annoying. If you have a slow internet connection, you can enable the “inbox preview” lab feature to see a preview of the inbox while you wait for Gmail to load.

Gmail Updates loading screen

Old +1 button interface:

New +1 button:

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