Google+ app finally makes its way to iPhone

Jul 19, 2011
Tech

There has been much talk and speculation about an app for Google+, Google’s new Facebook-like social network, for Apple’s iOS devices. Google reportedly submitted the app to Apple for approval for its iTunes App Store before the July 4 holiday. Apple is known for doing things on its own time when it comes to the […]

There has been much talk and speculation about an app for Google+, Google’s new Facebook-like social network, for Apple’s iOS devices.

Google reportedly submitted the app to Apple for approval for its iTunes App Store before the July 4 holiday. Apple is known for doing things on its own time when it comes to the approval of apps for its store and devices, and many journalists around the Internet reached out for comment to both Apple and Google about the situation on the Google+ app. It seemed to be taking an extra-long time for the new social network to make its way into the Apple universe.

Google+ finally arrives to iOS

That ends today, though. Apple has finally pushed through Google+, which is available in the iTunes App Store for free download. Previously, iOS users had to access the network using the Safari web browser and a mobile version of the Google+ website. Apple and Google are big rivals in the mobile sphere, with iOS competing actively against Google’s Android operating system for market share. Questions about the long approval process were starting to lean toward speculation that Apple might be holding the app back for some reason. An Android app for the service has been available for some time.

Not that that was a big problem for anyone – Google+ is still in its early development stages, and is currently an invite-only service. It works in much the same way that Facebook does, allowing users to share things like status updates, locations, pictures and videos, although Google has placed a lot more protections for privacy in the network than Facebook usually offers. Google+ is broken down further by Google Circles, an organization system that allows users to place their various network contacts into different groups, with those groups having different things shared with them or different levels of privacy settings for the user.

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The iPhone app offers quite a bit in the way of Google+ functionality. In addition to the regular stream of updates and posts from contacts in your Circles, the iPhone app will show you Google+ members and their status updates in the surrounding area, using your iPhone’s GPS capabilities. It also lets users quickly share photos from the iPhone’s Camera Roll and start chat sessions called Huddles.

Some early bugs

Users of the iPhone app are already reporting some problems with it, though, and it seems Google is on top of them. According to a Google+ post from Punit Soni, lead project manager on the social network, the App Store may have been dolling out an older, test version of the app to its earliest downloaders before switching to the full release version of the app. The test version was a touch buggy, so Soni recommends uninstalling it and reinstalling Google+ from iTunes in order to pull down the correct version.

Most of all, it seems Google+ carries all the necessary functions to compete on even terms with Facebook. Updates can be stamped with location data and include photos and videos, with the added bonus of limiting who is able to see what information quickly and easily. Facebook carries all those features as well, although privacy settings are generally a little more complex and difficult to navigate.Have you had a chance to mess around with Google+ on iPhone? Leave us your impressions in the comments below.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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