We tend to sceptically greet any new features of the sites we are used to. We are never happy to discover new (potentially annoying) tweaks to very familiar interfaces.
However things still change. And the tools we love and have been using for ages are always being further developed and changed.
Google has been introducing new and new features for ages and it has started changing actively especially recently.
Furthermore, Google is well-known for pushing their new features too hard. And the worst thing about that is that Google never makes it easy to opt out of its new features. For example, there is no good way to disable Google Instant and there is no way at all to opt out of search suggestions (which do interfere with our search behavior).
We can like new features or we can resent them – that’s our choice – but it’s always a good thing to have that choice.
The same goes about the actively promoted Google Plus platform. Once you opt in, you start seeing their “New message” notifier icon everywhere: when searching Google, when checking new messages on Gmail, when working with spreadsheets, etc.
It does draw us into Google Plus to check new updates from our contacts but it can be remarkably distracting interrupting our work flow.
So how do we get rid of it (especially when we do not need it?)
1. How Google Lets Us Hide It
The first obvious way to use Google services without being constantly drawn to Google Plus is to sign out of Google:
When you sign out:
However, you will certainly not be able to access most of Google services that way like Gmail and Google spreadsheets. You will only use distraction-free search.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any more options within Google Plus “Account Settings” that would allow me to get rid of the new message notifier the “legal” and official way.
Luckily, there are a few easy third-party tools to help:
2. Try a User Script
If you don’t mind playing with user scripts, you will be happy to discover this little script that removes the tiny “new update” count from the Google Plus panel.
With the script installed:
The script has proved to be working on Firefox 6 (with Greasemonkey) and Google Chrome.
3. Try a User Style
- Hide it completely;
- Hide it until you hover over the place where it used to be.
With the latest version of FireFox you can also choose to:
- Hide on all Google sites except Google+
- Hide on all Google sites.
I tried using the first option (hide the icon on all services except Google plus) and found that it also enabled the icon on generic Google search page (which was not my intention). So I hid the icon on all Google pages.
With the style installed:
With the style installed on hover over:
Are there any other ways to get rid of Google Plus new update count? Please share them in the comments.