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New Google navigation bar rolling out, social features on the way?

Google has begun rolling out a new version of its cross-site navigation bar. Google's search tools still get top billing, with Gmail sliding in just before the more menu -- which is where you'll have to go to find your Reader link. Elements have a bit more padding now as well, which will make them more finger-friendly on your Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet (or other touchscreen device). Another change is that your name is now displayed on the right side when you're signed in, as opposed to your email address. To see your associated accounts or switch profiles, just click your name.

TechCrunch speculates that the redesign could signal the arrival of Google +1, the "social layer" which has been in the works since last year. It's been rumored that +1 would be a sort of Facebook competitor from Google -- who already owns one of those in Orkut. Of course, the new navbar could also just be Google trying to stick to its minimalist modus operandi.

Tags: +1, design, google, integration, interface, minimal, navigation, search, social, social layer, SocialLayer, toolbar, ui, ux, web