Google Plus has finally come to the iPhone!
Ok, it sounds a bit precocious to say “finally” simply because the social network that was launched by Google is still in beta, and it’s only been a few weeks. In web launch terms though that’s more like 6 months. I was a bit peeved when I knew there was an Android app out for Google Plus but not an iPhone app? Well, how could I be all that shocked, really? After-all, it was “Google’s” social network and they take care of their own first before tending to the herds on the other side of the digital fence. Ok, I can accept that. So finally though they released the iPhone application and this is my first impression after using it for two days.
First off, when it was released it was hard to locate. I actually ended up tracking it down on the web and then emailed it to myself where I launched it from my email on my phone. That seemed to work just fine. If you are looking for it yourself you can click download google plus for iphone or click on the logo above. So at first glance, the application is pretty simple, and clean. I like that and appreciate the simplicity. Let’s take a look at the home screen:
I notice at first that all the components are clearly marked and consistent with the online experience. With one exception. WTF is huddle? Good question, essentially it’s the online equivalent to using the “hangout” feature which is the chat feature where multiple people can be in the session at once. I’m not sure why they call it “hangout” on the web and “huddle” on the mobile version. The notifications pull up menu is at the bottom of the screen similar to the Facebook application. Pretty cool so far.
So the “stream” screen is similar to the Facebook newsfeed. Just like in the Facebook application you can filter based on different selections. Pretty nice you can swipe to change status by which circle you want to see it.
Posting new messages is easy. You can also take a photo or upload one from the library. That’s a nice but expected feature to have because that’s the reason most people even use social networks is to share the moments with their friends and family.
After you have crafted your message, uploaded or taken a photo, you then choose which circles you want to share with. This is pretty neat actually because you can get granular on the fly with what kinds of photos you want to share with every posting. Is this overkill? Perhaps, although it’s nice to have access control at that granularity as you post pictures.
Once you have selected your circles it’s time to attach a photo if you want to.
Next it moves to your posting. Here is a quick screenshot after I posted a funny YouTube video to my “wall”?
From the “circles” menu you can add new people, create circles and designate who you want in each circle. You can also use the “suggest people” tool to find more people via Google Contacts that you might have missed. I haven’t used that yet but I’m sure I’ll use it at some point. So far all of contacts have been added from the web application and not the mobile app.
Huddle is a feature I haven’t used on mobile yet. I have tested the online version called “hangout” with 5 people including myself and I was quite impressed with it. From this screen you can see which huddles are available for you to join, or you can create your own and get your chat on. You can start a huddle by inviting people by name, email, or an entire circle. That is actually pretty awesome.
Lastly is the notifications stream. Pretty simple nothing to crazy. You can click “+1″ on peoples posts but not comments on that post. Facebook as the same limitation but it would be a nice feature from both applications.
So far I have really enjoyed the application, it makes it portable and usable now as before I was relying on the web version on mobile via Safari which worked ok but I’m not a fan of using social networks via the browser on my phone. It’s just cumbersome and frustrating. In any case, if you have an iPhone and are on Google Plus give it a whirl. If you don’t have a Google Plus account shoot me an email with your gmail address and I will send you an invite.