Completely out of the blue, Google has announced its long-rumored Google+ service. At first look, Google+ shows a lot promise. It might even prove Google does understand (gasp!) social–and even UI/UX–design.
Google+ has many fun and interesting features. (You can read all about them here.) But the one thing we’re interested in is its Android app. The Google+ Android app is not only beautiful and well-designed, but it also has most of the features (and more) that you’ll find in the web version of Google+. This includes:
- Circles–lets you share the right things with the right people.
- Stream–where you can get updates from your circles or see what people are saying about things nearby.
- Instant Upload–automatically uploads videos and photos to your own private album in the cloud, to make sharing a snap.
- Huddle–a super-fast group messaging for everyone in your circles.
Circles, Stream and Huddle. Keep these three words in mind, as they’re sure to become a big part of the Google+ mobile experience. Interestingly, these three Google+ features are a lot like three other Google products; Circles is a much better version of Google Contacts, Stream is what Google Buzz should have been, and Huddle is Google Chat with group conversations. In one fell swoop, Google integrated a bunch of different products under one name. It’s beautiful.
Instant Upload is a particularly interesting feature. I could see myself using it a lot in the future. Basically, you setup Google+ to automatically upload photos and videos from your Android phone to the web. As Google explains, these photos and videos are uploaded to a private folder. So, you won’t need to worry about privacy issues here. We’ve yet to see how far Google will take Google+’s photo capabilities, but one has to wonder how Picasa fits into all this. More importantly, will Google allow unlimited data space in Google+ for our photos and videos? Why would I use Picasa then? We should see these questions answered as Google+ gets closer to public release.
Clearly missing from the Google+ app is the Hangout feature. This is a group video chat service I’m sure the guys at Skype (Microsoft) are watching closely. However, I’m pretty sure Google is already working to bring this feature to the Android app. After all, the thing isn’t even in beta yet. Only a few people even have access to it. If you want to become one of those very lucky people, you can request an invitation here. (Please note: at the time of this posting, Google+ has temporarily exceeded capacity).
That’s our quick summary of the Google+ Android app. You can also check out the videos and pictures below, or read more about it here. What do you guys think? Does Google has a winner with Google+? I certainly think so.