Google+ for iOS Adds Hangouts, Messenger, Photo Sharing, +1’s and Better Notifications
By: Hillel Fuld
Google and Facebook are stepping up their game to knock the other one out, and we are sitting back and reaping the benefits. The truth is, the two companies are so busy copying each other's features, that it seemed, as of last week, that both of them forgot to throw in a little innovation. That, of course, did not last long and Facebook announced some major changes such as Timeline and Open Graph that will surely knock Google+ out, at least temporarily.
Who will win this game? I am not sure there needs to be one winner but if something is going to tilt the market in favor of Google or Facebook, it is how the two platforms behave on mobile devices. I already discussed how mobile will take a major role in the success of Google+, you can read about that here.
The latest update to the Facebook iOS app is a disaster. It is buggy as can be and a step down from the previous version. Google+, on the other hand, has released a few updates to its iOS app already with the latest one adding some much needed functionality. Is it perfect? No, far from it, but at this pace, within a month or two, the Google+ app might surpass the Facebook app in terms of features and usability, which will surely give the platform a much needed boost in the war against Zuckerberg. You can download the iOS Google+ app here.
The following are some of the updates added to Google+ for iOS:
- Join Hangouts from the mobile app: No way to start a Hangout but at least you can now join them on your mobile phone. I guess they had to leave SOMETHING for the next update, right?
- Huddle is now Messenger: This is nothing more than a name change and the creativity department at Google must have been sick the day they chose the name Messenger...
- Send photos in Messenger: This is a nice addition and a feature not yet available on Facebook Messenger. This brings Google Messenger into the ring with WhatsApp, BBM, and others.
- +1 on comments: This should have been possible from day one.
- Reliability improvements in Messenger: Seems pretty stable in my tests.
- Granular push notification settings: One of the biggest annoyances in Google+ is the large number of notifications for comments and +1s. Now you can fully customize what push notifications you get on your mobile phone. Super important.
- Map view in profile for places you’ve lived: Cute addition, nothing I will ever use.
- Improved +mention support: Easy tagging is something that will give Google+ a +1 over Facebook, especially with tagging being somewhat problematic in the new Facebook app.
- Share a post with individuals: Again, should have been there from day one.
- Improved public search for people: Oh really? Google+ now includes the ability to better search for people? I didn't see that one coming...
- Various bug and performance improvements: A definite improvement felt throughout the app.