Developer: Google, Inc.
Price: free Download on the App Store
The headlines over the last few weeks have been a buzz about Google's new social networking site. One of its most touted features is its circles option, which allows you to share information with certain groups of people, friends, colleagues, etc. There seems to be a lot of users already, but only time will tell if it will go head-to-head with Facebook.
Similar to Mr. Zuckerberg's network, Google finally received approval from Apple for its Google+ iPhone app. Again, like Facebook, the new social site does not have an iPad app. Of course, the amount of iPhone users trumps iPad users astronomically so it makes sense.
But what does Google's iPhone app offer that would make you start using the service, continue to use it and possible get rid of Facebook?
When you launch the Google+ iPhone app, you'll notice several features, including the settings tab on the upper bar, the stream, huddle, photos, profile and circles tabs in the main section and notifications on the bottom bar. One thing you probably won't notice missing is the full web version's Sparks option. And you won't miss it.
I give Google+ an A+ for simple layout as it displays the most used functions to keep you in the know on the most important information. Now lets dive into each feature.
In the stream tab you can select from incoming, circles and nearby feeds to choose which contacts to display on your screen. At this point, it's displaying your unfiltered stream, which is great for me since most of my friends haven't signed up for Google+. As you scroll through you can +1 or "like" your contacts' posts. If you didn't mean to +1 you can -1 by tapping the +1 again. Within the stream feature you can swipe left or right to see general or nearby posts.
Also, you'll notice a check mark in the upper right, which will allow you to check in at local businesses, hangouts, bars, etc. Next to it is the post option and I believe this is one of the best features of the app. It allows you to share your status to individual circles or your extended circles or to the public (everyone), click to check in as well as take a photo or choose one from your photo roll. It is very simple to use.
The photos tab allows you to view your contacts' photos as well as comment on them. You can tag others by typing "@" and then your contact's name, but oddly enough there is no +1 for rating photos. The huddle tab displays recent huddles you've been involved in. This feature is a basic message system, but where it's interesting is the ability to easily add contacts from your phone or within your circles.
For those diehard Google fans, this app will extend your love of the full web version to the mobile arena and make it very easy to manage all aspects of your profile. Add in its phenomenal feature of circles and the Google+ iPhone app has a lot of potential. However, it will be a long road to taking over Facebook.