Well, what a busy few days it has been! Working on the Google+ social network has been great, and part of the reason is their awesome mobile app! These past few days I have been using the Android app, and it has all but replaced Facebook for me. Keep reading for my impressions.
The App is simple and straightforward, and keeps me up to date on what is going on in the world of Google plus. Plus, it has one of my new favorite features, instant upload! When you snap a photo on your phone, it is instantly uploaded to the cloud, and you can then later share it with your friends. I have found a con with this, and it is that when you mount your android device and copy image files over to your phone, ALL those photos are treated as new pictures and are uploaded to picasa. This is bad because I had to remove all my pictures yesterday, and then I readded them to the memory card in a different folder and they began to upload, using up my battery with all the network communication. I had to uninstall Google+ Mobile and re-install it so that it would ignore all pre-existing images. It would be nice if they included an option to instant upload that would allow you to ignore images prior to right now. Other than that, it worked quite smoothly. Keep reading for my impressions.
Next up is Huddle! Huddle is a group messenger for your circles. The app has promise, but it is lacking on several points. One, it ONLY works on android. I love android as much as the next fanboy, but I know that I have many many friends on iOS or BB, and want them to be able to communicate with me as well. Eventually, I assume that apps will be available for other platforms, but until then it is quite annoying. Two, you cant huddle on the website or desktop. This is really annoying and I think will hurt Google if they dont eventually implement this. Lastly, it doesn’t really differentiate from any other group chat app. No cool emoticons, no awesome interface, just a simple chat tool. Since we are still in beta, I am sure that we will see (hopefully!) many upgrades in this department. What Huddle does well, is Chat. The functionality is quite rock solid (some people on Google+ complained that it shut down on them, but I never experienced that. It worked very well for me.
The stream feature worked as expected, except for one thing. Instead of viewing streams in chronological order, it orders it according to relevance, which might be a good thing if you could choose, but when you follow someone that is very popular, you will find that there post is always at the top, depending on how many +1’s or comments they receive. This is a HUGE issue for me, and is like this all throughout Google+.
Photos is simple enough, giving you all the photos on your phone, and allows you to share them. You are given the option to Geo Tag them, which is nice. You can of course choose what circles you want to post it to. The process couldn’t be simpler.
Lastly, the app includes a widget to allow for quick status updates and photo uploads. I am not a huge fan of widgets, so its not a big deal for me, but hey, its nice to have the option!
Overall, I think its a great app, and is easy to use. I have found myself going more and more to it, instead of the Facebook app, which is a great sign for Google but a bad sign for Facebook! If Google can keep the momentum then, it will slowly gain on Facebook.