Last week at Google I/O, the company’s social network received a facelift. In some ways, it looks great, but it also introduced a slew of new problems. Enter userscripts to clean things up.
Most of these extensions will play nice with either Greasemonkey (Firefox) or Tampermonkey (Chrome), however each have their own set of instructions and idiosyncrasies. Be sure to read carefully before installing anything.
Bring Back Auto-Refresh
One of the biggest changes to the new Google+ stream is that it no longer auto-refreshes. Instead, you get a little blue button that tells you how many new posts are waiting for you. That’s neat and all, but it becomes almost useless when you reach 50 or 100 new posts. If you’d rather have those posts automatically show up, Auto Load G+ will bring those new posts to the top of your feed without any action.
Get Rid of the White Space in Single-Column View
Wider posts on Google+
Change the Font to Something More Readable
Roboto fontGoogle+ Change Font
Automatically Stay in Video Hangouts
Add Notification Boxes for Other Google Services
Remove the Google+ Notification Box on Other Sites
On the flip side, sometimes the best way to get things done is to just reduce the number of notifications you get. If you want to focus on searching when you’re searching and email when you’re in Gmail, this script will hide the Google+ notification box unless you’re actually visiting the Google+ stream itself. It won’t remove the share button, but you’ll at least be free of the constant bouncing button telling you there’s new stuff to be distracted by.
The new design has only been out for about a week, so more userscripts are likely to crop up that improve the experience eventually. In the meantime, these should already provide a nice usability boost.