Google has announced that the +1 button, which has become ubiquitous by now, is getting a redesign, its first since it was introduced about a year ago. The new button takes quite a lot of cues from Google+'s latest design ideas, though that's not necessarily a good thing.
The new button looks very much like the new Google+ favicon, which hasn't exactly won any design awards. And, while the plain red and white design works for a favicon, it's probably too pale to attract any attention.
"Following in the footsteps of our new red and white Google+ icon, the +1 button is sporting a fresh coat of paint. Starting today, this update will be visible first to our Google+ Platform Preview Group and shortly thereafter we’ll roll it out to the public," Google announced.
"The +1 buttons you’ve already installed will automatically update; there’s nothing you need to do. Stop by the updated configuration tool to see how these changes look across all the various sizes and shapes of the +1 button," it said.
The older button was more colorful and a bit more eye-catching. People had also gotten used to it.
Google had to change it for a very simple reason, the older button simply featured a "+1" while the new one also has the Google+ lowercase "g" from the favicon.
The change may be subtle but it's important. The +1 button debuted before Google+ so it had to be a stand-alone feature.
But the naming was a bit confusing after Google+ showed up and it's quite likely that plenty of people weren't entirely sure what it did and how the button linked into Google+.
The new design makes the Google+ connection a lot clearer. That said, even though Google is making it look like it, the +1 button is not strictly linked to Google+, you can use it or see what other people +1'ed without a Google+ profile.