Hands-On Review of Google+ Mobile App for iPhone

Google-plus-iphoneLike most users of the invitation-only Google Plus website who use Apple’s iPhone, I snagged a copy of the G+ mobile app for iPhone yesterday. While G+ for iPhone is a great first attempt from Google, I can’t help but wonder if it made more sense for Google’s mobile team to wait just a bit so that G+ for iPhone could include some of the more important features needed for social network interaction in portable form.

At first blush, the app reeks of polish…it’s clear that Google put lots of thought into G+ and the real beauty of it is its simplicity. Nothing complicated, intuitive and slick in operation. This said, there are a few quirks and improvements that are needed before G+ for iPhone makes me abandon the website.

Here are a few enhancements that need implementing before G+ for iPhone is most useful for me:

  • An ability to share posts and websites of interest to users and their circles that operates in the same way as the the website.
  • An auto-populate function so users can easily communicate individually or more easily with their circles. When on the go, this is crucial, otherwise the exercise becomes tedious and well, if it becomes too much work, I’ll jump to Twitter or Facebook.
  • More selective control of what or what people or circle notifications get pushed to the phone. If one is very active and has tons of users, I can see push messages getting tiresome pretty fast if they’re showing up every nanosecond.
  • Landscape support — as basic as this feature is it’s hard to understand why this isn’t included in any first iteration of an app released for the iPhone/Touch or iPad. Speaking of iPad and Touch, support for those two devices should have been included too.
  • An ability to edit posts and profiles.
  • +1 needs fixing — as it stands now only the original post can be +1ed on the mobile device and none of the subsequent posts can be so honored if deserving.

Not sure of other’s experience but I have not been able to get push to work at all, oddly enough though the app does update the badge when new notifications are available. While badge update is my preference for notifications I would like to know that push at least works. I’ve had a few friends report that their notifications simply stop all of a sudden after working but have been able to correct with a delete and reinstall. Sadly no work for me, but I was able to set up Boxcar as a substitute for native push. Two small items that appear to be bugs that should get worked out are: notification lists either don’t unbold after being read or appear bold again after a refresh and location seems whacked. G+ for iPhone is the only app I use that has me located in a town miles away, so I don’t use it. Finally I think Huddle should be called Hangout for consistency sake and its use isn’t very intuitive — at least not for me.

Criticism aside, all Google+ brethren are in the infancy stage and if past is prologue, Google will continue to advance and improve the user experience on all the current platforms designed to take advantage of Google+.

Link to download the app from App Store – iPhone app for Google+

Click on the image to Enlarge


Author Bio: Randall Leverette is a marketing communication and public relations consultant based in New York who uses social media and other communication strategies to help clients engage consumers and stakeholders. He can be reached on twitter @golf11 and Google+ at onGPL.US/golf11

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