Google Updates Google+ Mobile Features

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Google+ has been updated with more Huddle messaging controls and support for Apple iPad and iPod Touch

Google on 8 August produced another update to its Google+ for iOS application, adding support for Apple’s popular iPad tablet and iPod touch web browsing and gaming gadget.

Launched on 28 June to limited field testing on the desktop and via an Android application, Google+ is a new social network that has over 25 million users sampling the service as an alternative to Facebook’s leading network.

Mobile tweaks

Google launched Google+ for the iPhone a few weeks later, allowing users of to publish updates to their Google+ Stream and see the links, pictures and updates posted to the service by folks in their Circles. Users may also manage those Circles and view public posts from other Google+ users located nearby.

The new version, 1.0.2.1966, is available from Apple’s iTunes App Store here. The app includes support for the iPad and iPod touch, two hugely requested features, as well as features previously only available in the Google+ Android app, which launched when the network launched in late June.

For example, there is now better support for mentions and the ability to view specific Google+ Circles in a Stream, which is Google’s version of the Facebook News Feed.

Users may also now start Huddle group messaging chats from another user’s profile page, specify who can start Huddle chats with them and even hide one-to-one Huddles. Users can access those features from the settings gear icon from the homescreen, explained Sharvil Nanavati, a tech lead for Google+, in a brief video.

Users can also “+ mention” someone in a post to allow them to join in conversations, fixing a flaw from the original Google+ iPhone version. Finally, Nanavati said he created a “secret way” to let users bring up the Stream selection setting menu.

Instant Upload

One feature iPhone users still can’t enjoy is the Instant Upload feature, a feature for the Android app version that lets users automatically shuttle photos they take on their smartphones to Google+. No doubt iPhone users would love this feature and Google is likely working on it.

Vic Gundotra, Google vice president of engineering, sent iPhone fans into a frenzy with the introduction of the iPhone Google+ app via Google+ on 19 July.

However, Punit Soni, lead product manager for Google+ Mobile, said Google discovered an issue with the version of the iPhone Google+ App that was in the App Store.

“When we launched, the App Store started serving a previous test version of the app which didn’t have the stability and fixes that the latest version had,” Soni explained on his Google+ page. “It started serving the correct version a little later. If you downloaded within the first 1 hour 40 mins, you may have downloaded the older test version.”

While Google+ for the iPhone quickly became the most popular free app, it’s unclear how Google+ users are actively using the + iPhone apps because Google declined to provide usage stats for eWEEK.

Also unclear is whether we will see an iPad tailored version of Google+, which some users are clamouring for. The word is that the current Google+ for iOS app looks positively pixellated on the iPad.

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