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google plus desktop clientI’m a proud Google Apps user. I love the platform, and it adds a lot of value to my domain. But sadly, Google has not yet deemed it worthy of Google Profiles. You can’t create a Google Profile for your Google Apps account. This in turn means you can’t use Google+ with your Google Apps account. Which means you need to use an annoying solution such as Multiple Sign-In How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature Read More or running concurrent browser sessions.

GClient is a Google Plus desktop client, actually a mini-browser of sorts, just for Google Plus. It is not without its faults, but it does save you from running multiple browser sessions. It’s not an ideal solution for everyone, but it might be useful for some.

The first thing you see when running GClient is a suspicious-looking window asking for your name and email address:

google plus desktop client

The developer seems to be using the app as a way to get people’s names and email addresses. Not the most confidence-inspiring tactic I’ve seen. As you can see above, I just gave them a disposable email Five Free Temporary Email Services To Avoid Spam Five Free Temporary Email Services To Avoid Spam Read More address instead. It worked – I got my “free unlock code” and they didn’t get my real email. After entering my unlock code, I was presented with a small login window (Google’s own, not the app’s), and then shown this:

google plus desktop app


That’s right – GClient is just a way to access the Google+ mobile interface. It seems like a lame solution at first (what, no funky dedicated interface?), but on second thoughts, I can see the logic in doing something like this. Google+ is still in flux, there’s no public API yet, and no real way to poll the service for updates or post new updates.  So the only real way to provide “standalone” access is not standalone at all – it’s just the same service in a different format.

Here’s what the feed looks like:

google plus desktop app

Basically, if you’ve ever used Google+ from a mobile device, you will know what this looks like. But in case you haven’t, here are a few other screenshots of the mobile interface. This is how you post an update:

google plus desktop app

And this is what a friend’s profile looks like:

google plus desktop

The only thing which isn’t stock Google in this app is the Options panel, which looks like this:

google plus desktop client

Note that the Google Plus desktop client is set to auto-start by default. If you don’t like such behavior, this is where you go to disable it.

So Is It Good Or Not?

I know this post may seem a bit conflicted. I’m used to writing more positive reviews, but then again, I’m used to applications that don’t require your email to send you a “free unlock key” on startup. But GClient finds itself in a unique position of being the only solution in town, at least for now. If you have a Google Apps account and still want to take part in Google+, GClient is the way to go.

Its basic approach is reasonable. If the developer dropped the email requirement and added a global hotkey for popping up the interface, GClient would be much better. As it stands, it’s OK, but it leaves the playing field wide open to any enterprising developer who wants to present a slicker solution. Would that be you, by any chance?

Let us know what you think of GClient in the comments.

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  1. digideth
    August 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Can you move the window at all?

    mine is stuck in the bottom right and its annoying me to no end.

    • Erez Zukerman
      August 25, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Nope! Totally stuck there, you're right. As I said, not exactly an awesome app, but it does beat dual sign-in and having to go to every time before I want to go to Google Plus.

      • digideth
        August 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        I emailed the Developer last night and he said that's how it was made. He didn't know how to make the window movable.