App Junkie is a regular feature where Brihanna Watson, self-confessed app junkie, takes a look at an app that has got her attention. She will dissect the app in her own style, but still keep to the rigorous testing policy of the site. If you are indeed an ‘app junkie’, and find yourself spending an inordinate amount of cash on apps that you never touch more than a couple of times, then Brihanna could save you a lot of pain and money by seeing if those apps that look like sparkling little gems in their App Store descriptions are really as tempting as they appear. Today: Google+
In case you have been living under a rock, Google’s new social media venture Google+ came upon the internet scene last month, launching with an invite only member program. It’s been the buzz of the social media community and the hype is good. All it needed to seal the deal was an app. Well Tuesday, it came to iOS.
Google+ for mobile is the compliment to it’s web counterpart. The design is very uniform, sticking to the Google color scheme on a white background. The new black bar is also present, as a notification bar. This bar is on the home page along with the Stream, Huddle, Photos, Profile and Circles options. Simply choose an icon to take you to the option. The Stream is much like the familiar Facebook news feed, consisting of all the updates from your Circles. Swiping right or left gives you two more options, Nearby and Incoming Messages. Nearby displays updates and check-ins near your location and Incoming Messages will store exactly that.
The newest and most talked about inventions of Google+ is its organization feature Circles and messaging system Huddle. Circles allow you to assign people you add to categories, making your updates available to only those circles you choose. What is so revolutionary about this is that it essentially brings the formats of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all in one. There is no restriction on characters for posts, and by giving the user the power to choose who sees it makes the message into whatever that user wants it to be, whether personal message, or blog post. Categories given are; Acquaintances, Family, Following and Friends. Circles can also be added and renamed to the user’s specifications.
The Huddle is a new way to text groups of people and individuals. When a new message is received in Huddle, a push notification is sent to your phone. It is definitely a big improvement on the chat services of the past and I love how you can message a group of people at one time. You can also access your Profile from the home screen, but this will just show you how your profile is displayed to everyone else. You can’t change your profile information from the mobile app as of yet. The one thing that is missing from the app that is included on the web is the Hangout feature which allows you to use live video chat with your friends in one room. Not sure if we will see this added in the future.
So to sum it all up, Google+ has a lot of things going for it, and the app compliments what is already there perfectly. It is super simple, which is just as it needs to be. Will it take over the popular social media empire? Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, having access to your network of choice on the go is essential, and a well working app is a step in the right direction. (Hint, hint, Facebook…). Only one suggestion for now, share button please? Google+ app plus iPhone user equals one great experience.