If you’re an active Google+ member and iOS user, you may find the Google+ app (Free) easier to navigate on the iPhone or iPad than using the mobile website. This mobile app keeps you connected to your Google+ stream and contacts wherever you go, and includes all the features available in the desktop version.
We have written about several updates to Google+ for iOS, including its new photo features, and changes to the user interface. But now we’ve added the Google+ app to our Best of iPhone Apps page, and this article provides an overview of the app for those who have not yet tried it.
Getting Set Up
It’s easy to get set up with Google+ on the iPhone (and other iOS devices) by signing in with your existing Google account. If you’re new to Google+, check out our free PDF: Google Plus: A Guide for Everyone.
After you sign in to Google+ on the iPhone, you will be asked if you want photos and videos on your device backed up to a Google+ account. You should only enable this feature if you plan to regularly share your photos on your Google+ stream. Otherwise, enabling this feature may quickly eat your allotted 15 GB of Google+ space. If you don’t enable this backup, you can still access your photos on your device from inside the app.
The main navigational space of the iOS app centers on your Google+ circles and posts, so you can easily stroll down the stream and view new posts. At the top of the screen you can switch between circles, alongside your notifications and alerts which are accessed with a single tap.
While the desktop version of Google+ is pretty much set up the same way, I prefer the single column focus on my iPhone and iPad. On the desktop version you have to resize the web browser to get this single column focus.
The bottom menu items of the app enables you to easily add and share content (links to articles, photos, written comments, and your location) to your Google+ stream. Using your device’s voice to text dictation feature is very useful for quickly writing comments.
Just as with the desktop version, you can choose the circles and recipients of the content you post. Tap the green Done button and you will get access to your circles and communities.
Tapping the menu bar button on the top-left of the app opens the sidebar where you can access the parts of your Google+ account. I personally like how this menu stays tucked away until needed. From the sidebar you can manage your circles, add photos, link to your Google+ communities, and view upcoming events or post new ones.
Google Hangouts is a popular feature of Google+ which allows you to participate in online audio visual conferences with other Google+ members. When you tap on Google Hangouts in the app, it will direct you to download and open the standalone Google Hangouts app for the iPhone. From there you can actually participate or start online conferences right from within your device.
I’ve used the Google+ Hangouts app on my iPhone a few times and I like how it provides the same quality I get on my Mac while being completely portable.
You can also now make phone calls directly from within the app as long as it’s connected to Wi-Fi. The outgoing calls will come from your Google Voice number, and incoming voice calls can be answered from Google+ Hangouts. Calls made in the US and Canada are free, and there are low rates for international calls.
After you get set up with the Google+ app, you should open the app’s Settings and enable or disable notification settings, choose which circles to include when sharing content with “Your circles,” and who sees your Google+ activity updates.
Settings is also where you can enable or disable automatic camera backup and other photo related features.
The iOS and desktop platforms of Google+ are nearly identical, but as a social network space, you may find Google+ more accessible on your mobile device. Sometimes it’s more pleasant to browse social media in a more casual situation, and that’s what our smartphones and tablets afford us these days.
Let us know what you think of the Google+ app. Are there features you would like to see added?
Image Credits: Yutaka Tsutano Via Flickr