It's been in testing for at least half a year now, but Google it`s finally rolling out the redesigned top navigation bar, common to most of its products. The new navigation bar is mostly a visual revamp though there are a few tweaks as well.
However, more important than the toolbar itself is that it's linked to the rumored, upcoming social networking "layer" Google is working on integrating in all of its products.
There wasn't any big announcement, but Google has confirmed that the new design it has been testing is now being rolled out to all users.
By now, most people should spot it on the products that it's available on in this first step, Web Search, Gmail and a couple of others.
There's no denying that the new navigation bar looks a lot better than the one it's replacing, which was basically just a list of links to its biggest products along with a couple more for account management.
Technically, not much has changed, it's still a bunch of links, but they look more like menu buttons now and aren't underlined anymore. The color scheme along with the slight gradient background fits better with Google's more recent design ethos.
Another change is the Settings button which replaces several links. It enables users to access their account settings as well as the configuration options for the product they're using at the time.
The email address which was displayed when users were logged in has been replaced by the name of the account. Switching between simultaneously signed-in accounts is a bit harder now since it takes more steps.
The really exciting part though is that this is probably just the beginning. Google Me, Google +1 or whatever it's called at this point is going to make good use of the navigation to allow users to share updates, keep up with friends and manage their profile.