Some of you may have noticed that Google changed up the way that Google+ notifications are handled on the desktop yesterday when the notification icon suddenly changed in appearance. Before, the icon was just a bell icon that would have a red notification-counter popup beside it to show how many notifications you currently had, now it is a small bell inside of a gray circle. This may not seem like a change worth mentioning but the real change happens when you click this new button.
Upon clicking the notification button before, you be shown both read and unread notifications in a jumbled mess and if you wanted to view previously read notifications you would have to navigate to the very bottom of the pane and click a button. Now, with the updated notification button, it shows you only un-clicked notifications which get grayed out upon being seen. Previously read notifications are are located at the bottom and are even organized based on the time that they came in. Overall, the notification experience is now much more organized and user-friendly.
Balaji Srinivasan who works on the Google+ team had the following to say about this update to the way notifications are handled, "We know notifications are an important way for you to remain connected to the content and people you are interested in on Google+. To this end, we are adding a dedicated view of notifications to the Google+ desktop site. You can now browse notifications by clicking on the bell at the top right corner of the Google+ page. The new tray is a simple list that allows you to quickly scan all notifications and view the relevant content with a single click." Basically saying that this update was intended to both simplify the notification experience and make it much easier to find what you are looking for.
Unfortunately this new way of handling notifications did not last very long at all, as a matter of fact it only lasted about a day. Today the Google+ team was forced to revert back to the old way of handling notifications due to complaints from the community about the system. The only thing that remains from the new notification system is the updated button. Although Balaji Srinivasan did say via Google+ today that the Google+ team will take into consideration all of the feedback that they have received and continue to make notifications better.