Redesign to Come Sooner Than We Think?

Over the last couple of months, I've noticed several new design trends across Google+, but they clash with the current styling. It's getting more obvious that a big redesign is on the menu, and is probably coming sooner than you think.

The last major UI refresh rolled out in April of last year, bringing with it some major features and a new design direction that has helped Google's social platform to become more user-friendly and more pleasing to the eye.

Although it probably feels like we've had the navigation ribbon and cover photos for a long time, the last redesign was under a year ago. That is ancient in internet years, however. Fortunately, there is evidence (that you may have overlooked) to suggest a new redesign is around the corner, here's what I've found:

Official Branding

Google has already uploaded a bold, new g+ logo over on their official +page.
New flat-style g+ logo
Their Google+ Developers +page has also gotten a new logo with the same styling:
New g+ Developers logo
Although it's not a radical change from the last version, the solid red and the bold, flattened style makes the new logo really stand out, and is a step forward.

Google+ for Android

A slight variation of the new logo can also be spotted on the latest version (v3.3) of the Google+ for Android app, which bares similarities to the Google Search app's icon. Suspiciously, Google hasn't bothered to update the icon for Messenger...
Now Google+ Messenger sticks out like a sore thumb!
In the latest version of Google+ for Android, you'll see 4 buttons along the bottom (or the side in landscape) that fit in with the new visual direction that they're going with:
The new icons to the right (in landscape) would fit a new-look Google+ quite well...

Instant Upload

The Instant Upload improvements that we reported on over at our page in November 1st of last year brought some improvements to the service, but the thing that had stuck out to me the most was the brand-new user interface, is it a glimpse of the future of Google+?
New slide-in/out interface with big buttons


Another familiar theme and styling has been used for the recent Hangouts UI refresh that landed in roughly the same time as the recent Instant Upload update. You can read the official announcement for the Hangout improvements here.

Although the new UI took inspiration from the navigation ribbon, the icons of the default Hangout apps follow the same clean and simple style found in the other properties of Google+.

Dialogue Boxes

Myself and a few other people have had "tips" of sorts show up on or around our Home Streams for the past few weeks. These tips are obviously aimed at new users, and it's great that we'll see an improved 'getting started' guide soon.

What is interesting to me though is that these pop-up dialogues don't appear in the old round blue bubble (see below), but in a square solid yellow box. This UI is consistent with the other details I've highlighted in this article.
Here's the old blue dialogue, which can still be seen by selecting  "Take a tour".
These new pop-up boxes are more consistent with the logo and other UI changes

Another quick tip in the new UI

The Big Picture

Although we've had a lot of hints, and I think we've seen most of them for now, I still find it hard trying to imagine how everything will fit together once the inevitable redesign does actually get rolled out. We'll most likely see bright, solid colours as a major theme, and sharp corners along the user interface (which also seems to be a common trend). As long as it doesn't look similar to Microsoft Windows 8, I'm happy.

April will mark the current design's Birthday so we might not see anything new until then, but there is a little bit of hope that Google will kick 2013 off with a bang.

How good are my detective skills +Vic Gundotra? ;-)

What do you think of the new visual direction that Google seems to be taking Google+ in?