Google Unveils New Google+ Apps for Android, iPhone

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-03-27

Google Unveils New Google+ Apps for Android, iPhone

Google has released reworked versions of its Google+ apps for Android and iPhone users, adding several improved features for photos, posts, user profiles and user communities.

Amar Gandhi, director of product management for Google+, announced the upgrades in a March 25 post on the Google+ Project Blog. The new iPhone edition is version 4.3, while the new Android edition is version 3.6.

Highlighting the iPhone app improvements are photo-enhancement features from Snapseed, which will now allow users to perform basic edits such as rotating and cropping images, as well as using photo filters on their images before sharing their images with others, wrote Gandhi. Users will also now be able to use the features to adjust the saturation, contrast, brightness and other elements of their photographs, all while using Google+. In addition, members will be able to compare their changes to the original images before saving their changes by tapping once on the image.

"Today's release just brings the Snapseed basics inside the Google+ iPhone app," Gandhi wrote.

Android users are getting improved functionality when it comes to posting their status updates on their Google+ profiles, according to Gandhi.

"Little things mean a lot, especially when it comes to content in the stream, so we've polished lots of corners in today's Android update," he wrote. Users will now be able to include more text up front in their posts, from the original message and from comments from others. Tapping video, photo or link attachments will now take users directly to a watch page, light box or Website.

In addition, image previews won't be cropped too often anymore, so user images and other photos will now be shown in full most of the time, Gandhi wrote.

Other changes include more prominent display of key user actions, such as commenting on, "liking" or clicking "+1" on a post, he wrote.

Android users will also now be able to "swipe" through photo albums in line to view images, making the process easier. Also simpler in the new versions of the Google+ apps is the ability for a user to display their current location on their Google+ profile, according to Gandhi.

"You've always been able to list the places you've lived, but now you can display your current location on your Google+ profile. Or not: It's entirely up to you," he wrote. "If you enable this option, you'll then decide who can see your best-available location across Google."

Users can change their preferences at any time to be as public or as private as they want to be, he added. Users who want to use the feature have to turn on "location sharing" in their Google+ settings.

Google Unveils New Google+ Apps for Android, iPhone

New community features are now included in both the Android and iPhone versions of the new Google+ apps, Gandhi wrote. "In the past few weeks, we've introduced lots of ways to manage your communities from the desktop—both as members and as moderators," he wrote. "Today we're excited to bring these improvements to iPhone and Android."

The new features include the ability to adjust the volume of community posts in a user's Home stream, as well as new options to invite people into a community or to re-share items with a community. Also added is new support for member search, content moderation, and report-remove-ban capabilities for community managers.

The new Google+ apps are now available for free download in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

In February, Google+ unveiled app improvements that made it easier for users to access their other online iOS and Android apps more seamlessly and quickly through a new Google+ sign-in feature that allows users to tie their Google+ sign-in process to the sign-in processes for their most-used non-Google apps on their desktops or mobile devices.

The new feature means that users who sign in to Gmail, YouTube or any other Google service can now use their existing credentials to sign in to apps outside of Google, which speeds things up for users. The improved sign-in process will also make it easier for users who access Web-based and mobile versions of the same app.

Google+ has been around since June 2011, when it was started by the company as an online offering to compete with Facebook, or at least to give Google a piece of the social networking pie. Users were able to share events and news online with others in their "circles," then connect with others in their friends' circles, too. The communities can be set up to be open to anyone on Google+ or they can be private groups closed to the general public.

So far, more than 500 million people have upgraded their Google accounts to Google+, including 235 million who are active and about 135 million who are mostly observers, according to Google.

Google has been tweaking its Google+ offerings often to try to grow its user base and make it a must-visit destination for consumers who are already deeply entrenched in more mature social networks, including Facebook.

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