Google+ turned two years old today. To celebrate, Google has announced an updated Follow button, a new Communities badge, and updated badges for Pages and Profiles.

First up, let’s talk about the new Google+ Follow button, a standalone plugin that lets visitors follow you from your site. It’s still very similar to Twitter’s follow button, so don’t expect any major changes:

Follow button blog 730x447 Google rolls out a new Google+ Follow button for sites and new badges for Communities, Pages, and Profiles

Above you can see how the button looks when you have yet to follow the Google+ user (left), when it is clicked (center), and after you have followed the individual. Since Google+ is all about circles, this button lets you add someone directly to your circles when you follow them, just like on the actual social network.

Google says the Follow button uses the same JavaScript as its +1 button, meaning if you have the latter already, all you have to do is configure the plugin and add the markup to your page. The +1 and Share buttons will also be updated automatically “over the next few weeks,” Google says, although they’re just getting minor changes to the visual style that’s more consistent with the recent improvements to Google+.

Next up are the new badges. Google says Community managers have been asking for a way to attract members across the Web, so it is introducing “highly configurable” badges for Google+ Communities.

Here’s a sneak peek:

community badge blog Google rolls out a new Google+ Follow button for sites and new badges for Communities, Pages, and Profiles

Clicking the Preview button will open up the community page in a new browser tab. From there, visitors can view recent posts as well as join.

Google+ already had badges for Pages and Profiles, but they’re getting an update today. They are also more customizable, allowing for portrait and landscape modes, light and dark themes, as well as letting you turn certain items like the cover photo and tagline on or off.

Here’s the new Profile badge:

profile badge blog Google rolls out a new Google+ Follow button for sites and new badges for Communities, Pages, and Profiles

Here’s the new Page badge:

page badge blog Google rolls out a new Google+ Follow button for sites and new badges for Communities, Pages, and Profiles

The current badges will still be available for “up to 90 days,” meaning you have about three months to switch your site to the new version. After that, Google will automatically upgrade any Google+ badges to the new design.

Today’s changes aren’t massive, but we know Google can’t pass up an opportunity (like a birthday) to roll out new features. The Follow button in particular should help the social network grow, though one could argue that what it really needs is a boost in engagement.

See also – Google announces 41 new Google+ features including Pinterest-like card-based Stream and Latest Google+ redesign comes to the mobile Web: Cover photos, larger tap targets, and card-based posts

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / Getty Images