Google+ iPhone App Tops iTunes Store After Buggy Start

Google+ comes to Apple's iPhone, quickly becoming the most popular free application in the iTunes App Store after a buggy first launch.

The Google+ mobile application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone leads the top free app list in the iTunes App Store despite launching a bit prematurely from the Googleplex July 19.

Google+ is the search engine's popular new search engine, which may have as many as 18 million users. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) launched a native mobile app for Android smartphones with the inception of the network June 28 but was still hashing out (or negotiating with Apple) the native iPhone app.

Vic Gundotra, Google vice president of engineering, sent iPhone fans into a frenzy with the introduction of the iPhone Google+ app via Google+ on the afternoon of July 19.

However, Punit Soni, lead product manager for Google+ Mobile, said Google discovered an issue with the version of the iPhone Google+ App that was in the App Store.

"When we launched, the App Store started serving a previous test version of the app which didn't have the stability and fixes that the latest version had," Soni explained on his Google+ page. "It started serving the correct version a little later. If you downloaded within the first 1 hour 40 mins, you may have downloaded the older test version."

The version number for the new version is Soni encouraged early installers to check their Google+ version by clicking on the gear icon on the top left of their app's homescreen and looking above the help button.

For those who downloaded the older version, Soni advised them to is uninstall the app and reinstall it by clicking here.

In any event, the refreshed + iPhone app is working well after TechCrunch and others found some early bugs.

The program allows users to publish updates to their Google+ Stream and see the links, pictures and updates posted to the service by folks in their Circles. Users may also manage those Circles.

Similar to the location-sharing feature in Google Buzz, the mobile version also lets users view public posts from other Google+ users located nearby. Just as with the Android + app, the iPhone + app includes the Huddle group messaging feature.

However, iPhone users can't enjoy the Instant Upload feature, which lets Android phone users automatically shuttle photos they take on their smartphones to Google+. The app also does not work for the iPod touch.

The arrival of the Google+ iPhone app so soon after the original service launch is a breath of fresh air for iPhone users.

Due to competitive politics, Apple delayed releases of native Google mobile apps, such as Google Voice, Google Goggles and Google Latitude for months before agreeing to publish them. Apple eventually loosened the reins on its App Store development rules and procedures to allow the apps.