On Tuesday, Google’s native iOS app for its Google+ service was released on the App Store. I downloaded the app and here are my initial impressions.
You get all the basic functionality of the mobile web version but the native application adds push notifications, photo uploading and the ability to create Huddles. The Stream lets you look at everything that is posted from all your different Circles. You can swipe left or right to view Incoming posts or Nearby posts that others have posted publicly. This is useful if you’re in a new city and would like to find out nearby restaurants, shops or other points of interest. You also have the ability to comment and +1 on any user’s post. You can also create a Huddle which is essentially a group chat feature. This comes in useful when you’re trying to coordinate plans with multiple people. Finally, you can also look at your entire Circles list and manage which users appear in which Circles.
Posting an update to your Stream is fairly simple. You tap the pencil icon in the upper right of your screen to bring up the compose screen. From here you can select which of your Circles can view the post, add location or check in at a venue, and add an existing photo or use your phone’s camera to take one. Tap post and your update gets posted to your Stream.
The Google+ app is a very good start but there are a few downsides. The app is only available to US users at the moment with no timetable for an international release. The Google+ app does not work on the iPod Touch. It is currently iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4 only. No native iPad support either.
There are also a couple things you can do on the website that currently are not supported in the iOS app. Mainly the inability to reshare posts, you cannot “like” comments and you cannot refer to usernames from within the app (similar to @replies on Twitter).
This is Google’s first version of the app and I’m sure these shortcomings will be addressed in future updates, otherwise a great first effort. What do you think about the native iOS app? Let us know what you like/dislike in the comments.