July 20, 2011
For those of you finding yourself filling your time examining the circles of Google’s new social network, Google Plus, you were probably delighted to find out about the launch of their first native iPhone application yesterday. If you are using an Android phone, this is nothing new as Android users have been able to receive special notifications from Google Plus since the social network launched. But the swarms of iPhone users, who are likely early Google+ adopters, have not been able to post photos, check-in at locations and interact with Google Plus while on the go.
So taking a first look at the Google Plus iPhone application is pretty impressive. It offers a robust feature set that mimics the online Google Plus offering, and actually makes it feel more competitive. This is surprising given it’s the first version of the application built around an invite-only, beta product. Most applications start simple and roll in features with each release. The Google Plus application wasted no time and went with a somewhat sophisticated, yet easy-to-use interface with loads of features which include:
- ability to easily read your stream of news
- take and post photos from both my camera and photo library
- comment on items
- 1+ items
- check-in to locations and post photos to them
- post items to specific circles
- view the stream filtered by circle
- huddle-up in a hangout
- and a lot more
Launching an iPhone application, especially one this feature rich, for Google Plus is an important move by Google as I feel it shows commitment to the platform. It was not all that long ago that Google Buzz was all the buzz, for about ten minutes. Google Buzz did not offer an iPhone app, but instead had users visit a mobile version of the site on the iPhone. This was fine in the early days of the iPhone before the application market really exploded, but these days it’s “table stakes” to offer an iPhone application to help woo the early adopter, highly vocal crowd.
So what is Google Plus and its iPhone application missing?
- Sharing is caring. The ability to share items out to my other existing social experiences. I previously wrote about Instagram and the features that made it such a hot application. I think that sharing is an important feature both on the mobile and online application.
- Importing data from other networks. Facebook and other social experiences make it easy to pull in items from feeds and such. Currently, there is no way to pull in posts automatically. For anyone already using Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and others, posting items to Google Plus is yet another place to have duplicate efforts.
- Consolidating +1 actions. Around the web I can +1 items as I find them interesting, but those items do not go back into my posts feed/stream but rather into a separate tab. So that means if I really like a piece of content, I have to not only +1 it, I also have to share or post it to my feed so that others in my circle will see it (without having to poke around to find them). This seems like a duplicate effort to me. Why not just let me share my +1 items directly to my posts?
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