Google Fixes Bugs, Boosts Design in Latest Google+ for Android Update

Updates continue a string of improvements that Google has been making to G+ for Android and iOS lately.

Google has fixed a total of 69 bugs in its latest update to Google+ for Android.

But that's unlikely what users are going to be noticing the most with the new Google+ Android 7.0.0. Rather, it is the multiple tweaks that the company has made to the app that is likely to garner more attention.

Among them is a new feature that automatically hides the tab on the bottom of the screen when a user begins to scroll a page and another one that serves up auto-complete suggestions when an individual uses the Search function.

The home stream function in Google+ that allows users to see what others have shared has also been tweaked. Now when a user navigates to another screen and then comes back, the home stream remembers where the user left off and returns him or her to that same position in the stream.

In addition, Google is giving more prominence to the Collections and Communities features on Google+ that basically allow people to follow a person or group, and have their posts show up in the home stream. Version 7.0.0 will now prompt users to make Collections and Communities visible on their profile if they are not currently visible.

In all, 14 accessibility issues have been addressed with Google+ Android 7.0.0, Luke Wroblewski, a product director at Google, said in a post Wednesday on Google+.

"We're starting to roll out an updated Google+ Android app over the next couple days," Wroblewski said." This version includes two of our most requested Android fixes and a number of additional updates."

The post lists some of the updates that will become available with the new version, but it doesn't specify what exactly the most requested fixes were that Google addressed with version 7.0.0. Additional updates will soon become available for the Google+ Android app, Wroblewski said without specifying any details.

The latest updates continue a string of similar ones that Google has made lately to improve the Google+ user interface in response to user requests. G+ Android Update 6.9.0 that Google released in December, for instance, fixed 45 bugs, addressed a total of 14 accessibility issues and introduced a full-screen notification feature. The December update also for the first time separated the "Your Circles" screen from the "Following" screen in what some saw as an effort by Google to de-emphasize the former.

Google has been making similar user interface improvements for G+ for iOS users as well. The company's G+ iOS update 5.1.0 in December, for instance, introduced multiple improvements and fixes. Among them were tweaks that made it easier for users to mark notifications as read, download photos, navigate between screens, and view comments and reshares of posts to Google+.

Google has been somewhat coy about the number of people using Google+, the company's answer to the social networking phenomenon. It has not released any numbers on active users recently, but estimates by some bloggers peg the number at a modest 4 million to 6 million. That equates to a mere 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent of the total number of registered G+ profiles, which is estimated to be over 2 billion.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.