Google+ Android and iOS [Screenshot Tour]

I posted a first look at Google+ yesterday, full of screenshots. As a mobile developer I am in a unique position to give a side-by-side tour of the mobile experience (since I own and develop for the iPhone, iPad, Android, etc). This post aims to provide a visual walk-through of what each mobile experience has to offer.




In case you do not already know, there is an Android App available, but on iOS (iPhone+iPad+iPod) you must use the mobile site for now (a native app is apparently on the way). If you’ve used gmail on the iOS before you know what to expect from the web experience. All versions are accessible from the mobile Google Plus Site.


Still looking for a Google+ invite?

I will send you one, all I ask in return is that you spend a few minutes browsing this site and deciding if it deserves to be part of your normal reading list. RSS links / etc on the right. Either leave a comment here or use the contact me form. Remember to include your gmail address. Keep in mind that many people are having a hard time getting invites to work since it seems Google is throttling the acceptance rate. Please be aware that I’m only sending them out in batches every so often, and I do sleep sometimes (though not often), so be patient.


Note: I decided to exclude iPad screenshots because it is literally exactly the same as the iPhone, just on a larger screen. As before, I have blurred the names/etc. of the innocent. Contact me if something is amiss.





With the iOS, you need to accept some terms and conditions for the first time, while the Android app is downloaded from the android App Marketplace.



Android also prompts for “Instant Upload” on first startup:



Android is also unique in that it requires you to select your account (in case you have more than one gmail), and that it installs a separate app for huddle (not shown to save space here, but basically it looks like they’re intentionally giving us a way to replace text messages. This will go head to head with the new iOS5 feature, both of which are going to blow away RIMs BBM).




The Home Screen


The iOS version takes you right to the stream (you have to press a back button to get “home”), but the Android app starts here…




The Stream


Our core interface for all that is new… videos look pretty, as do comments and such. Notice that we can see where someone posted from on the iOS version, but not on the Android version (huh?)


Both versions have a checkin button and a create post button, but photos can only be added from the Android version.



The iOS has the now-common “pull to refresh” feature:




Posting to the Stream


Both versions, again, let you choose a location (and who to share with) but the iOS lacks the photo selection ability.



The iOS version has a standard “allow GPS access?” prompt (not shown) and the capacity here is not quite as great.



Android photo selection looks great…



Finally, the post is posted…







The album view:



As well as the view of individual albums…



Here’s the iOS version of the photo view which, for some reason, will not show the photo in full screen.






Circles just show lists of people within each circle. Though you can create a circle easily, at first I could not figure out how to add someone to the circle. Turns out you need to look at their profile (below) and there’s a big button there (there is no “add to this circle” button).







This is where you can add someone to a circle or interact with them in other ways. There are 3 tabs: About, Posts, and Photos. Profiles, like streams, are capable of supporting rich media (eg embedded videos).







Notifications on Android integrate smoothly into the notification system in the OS. Otherwise, its just what you expect. My one gripe is that notifications do not go away unless I click on them in the notifications, even if I clearly interacted with it from the stream.





My Favorite Feature


My favorite vanity feature is back – you can see where people have lived. Huzzah.







This is one of those new killer features we keep hearing about. Huddle lets you chat with multiple people at once, something like a cross between text messaging / Twitter / BBM / old-school chat room. The Android app comes with a separate app for huddle, if you want, and it also smoothly integrates into the OS notification system. It took forever to load the first time (just a connection indicator for a good 20 minutes), but eventually it worked…


Unfortunately, we can’t try it on iOS yet (it requires a native app).




Errors & Problems


The Android app functioned wonderfully well on my Nexus One (developer phone), except for the absurd and unknown loading time on Huddle. There were a few small problems on the iOS web app, like some rendering problems occasionally and some errors switching orientations:



One miscellaneous thought: why does Google+ not count my profile picture as a “picture of me”? Seems self-evident…




Wrap Up and Final Thoughts


Since yesterday’s initial review, I’ve come to like Google+ even more. My stream is active now with friends and colleagues… and I am actually able to keep them separate. I absolutely love the fact that I can use the Google toolbar to respond to something or just share something from any other Google service. Google is getting a completely new look over the coming weeks, even GMail (and you can try out the new look now if you want). Overall, the services are becoming more unified, consistent and appealing.


I can now say that I actually like Google+ more than I like Facebook. This does not mean that the service is better yet, though. It means that I think they have created a better tool at the core, and it will depend how that tool gets used. Facebook has a huge head start, developer tools available and much more. Hopefully Google continues to make smart decisions in catching up.



Posted by:

Zane Claes
I've compiled everything I've learned about happiness and productivity. You might enjoy the posts about craftsmanship or experimentation. Below are some of the most popular posts to get you started. If you have something to share, I'd love to hear from you. - Zane
  • Jamie

    Love the site, keep up the good work! Right now I’m currently messing around with my sleep pattern, I can usually get away with five hours.

    I went to the “project site” and they had closed off applications for a bit because of sheer number of people applying, so an invitation would be nice..

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks! Good luck conquering the sleep beast, its a worthy adversary but a good thing to accomplish. If you still have trouble after reading the various posts here let me know. I highly recommend the biphasic schedule!

      Invitation coming shortly…

      • Charlesksztyk…….love your blog dude!

        • Zane the Experimenter

          Thanks! Sending the invite now.

          • Ayelet Fk

            would love an invite too

          • Zane the Experimenter

            On its way!

  • Amanda

    If you can spare an invite, I’ll take one.

  • Jordan Buller

    Like both this comparison article and the site in general. Consider yourself followed!

    jordo37 at gmail

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks, Jordan! Invite on the way.

  • Jordan Buller

    Like both this comparison article and the site in general. Consider yourself followed!

    jordo37 at gmail

  • AJ

    Nice post. Let’s those of us on iOS see the other side.

    If you’ve got any extra invites.

    A.mcn.eice at gmail

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks, AJ. The Android experience was really nice, I hope they do as good of a job with the native iOS app.

      Invite on the way!

  • Anonymous

    Awwww yeah. + over FB.

    It’s coming. 

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Haha :) Cool to see how many people are suddenly using it, though it could be because of the subject material here.

  • InnovateLife

    Thanks HackerNews for this. Will be added to Direct RSS.

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks! Invite on the way.

  • Nicholas

    Google+ > Facebook from what I have read. Will need to try it out myself though. Invite please

    • Zane the Experimenter


  • Carlo Amoroso

    you blog is really inspirating.. so i added your feed to my google reader (invite or not..;-)

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks, Carlo! Hope it continues to live up. Invitation sent.

  • Ivan Galic

    From what I’ve read around the web (g+ has been the hottest topic for the past few days), I will like it far better than fb (especially since I never like fb in the first place :). However, it seems like a completely futile effort – it doesn’t seem that much better than facebook to win over its several hundred million users. People are lazy and social networks are all about people and their behavior.
    The whole tech community is incredibly excited about g+, but is it even going to raise an eyebrow of hundreds of millions of others who don’t care about google and facebook and what goes on in the tech world (and obviously don’t care so much about the privacy policies that are supposed to be the main point of g+)? I sure hope so, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Then again, maybe google has some other plans completely unrelated to facebook :)

    I would also like an invite, please :)
    ivan.galic at gmail

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Well, I think Google will be able to use those users (heh) a lot more. They have other services and items linked in. G is great at monetizing non paying users.

      As for the others outside the tech community… surely it will take time. The interesting thing about technology is… people usually listen to the tech community, eventually, one way or another. I think privacy is a much bigger deal to the general population than it is to the tech community. A lot of people have heard horror stories and approach FB cautiously, IMHO. Even my friends from college and HS barely use FB any more because of this.

      Anyway, invite sent! Thanks for the good comment ;)

  • Amith Mathew

    I’ve been itching to try g+ out, unfortunately haven’t got an invite yet. I have 500 odd friends on Facebook, and I’ve just stopped using it because of the exact same problem that g+ circles solves. I’m sure there are many more out there like me, and that’s where FB has a problem. I do agree that I’m a geek but I’d trust google over facebbok any day.

    Not to mention that I have an android phone and an iPad. The FB experience on both( Facebook app on android and the third party apps on the iPad) leaves a LOT to be desired. I’m hoping that g+ will be better.

    I would also like an invite please :) amitphilip at gmail

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Haha yeah, the FB bubble is just too big, and indeed the mobile experience sucks. The iPhone app is okay at best.

      I just invited you ;)

  • Chris

    Really informative article, been looking into various G+ across the web but like the side by side comparison between the native Android app and the iOS web-app, and 

    Invitation would be very welcome, would like to try it out myself. Think it could certainly rival FB.  cajbaker at gmail dot com 

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Cheers, Chris, you should have just received an invitation ;)

  • Karenzadesign

    Exellent article, looking forward to trying out myself when I get the golden invite!…or more likely when the masses are allowed it! :-(

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Hehe :( You should have hopefully received one.

  • Oliver Devine

    It’s good to see a developer willing to share this kind of comparative insight. Invaluable. Great website, added to my Feedly :)

    An invitation would be much appreciated; I’d love to have a play around.

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks, Oliver, glad you appreciated it! Very honored to be added to your feed :)

      You should have hopefully received an invite as well as an email from me.

  • Raffaello Sanchez

    you blog is really great ..  (invite or not..;-) here is my gmail…

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Thanks Raffaello, your praise means a lot to me :)

      You should have hopefully received an invite as well as an email from me.

  • Tomasxd51

    my email send me an invitation

    • Zane the Experimenter

      You should have hopefully received an invite as well as an email from me.

  • chrislev

    i posted this on your previous review,

    zane, i would LOVE an invite please o please!!! 

    • Zane the Experimenter

      Yep, saw it – sending now!

  • Tommylm

    tommylm |at| gmail[.]com please
    would be much appreciated

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Chernandez414

    would love an invite please!

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Pstidsen

    pstidsen [at] gmail [.] com please
    And thanks for an interesting site… added to my reader feed

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Binoy M

    An invite is much appreciated. Just cant wait anymore especially after going thru your blog :)
    binoy.m at

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Luke A

    If you still have invites left, 
    luke.d.adams@gmail.comThanks! Love your blog

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Sachin

    Please invite me:
    sacsachin789@gmail:disqus .com

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way!

  • Gwyd

    If you’ve got any invites left, I’d be very grateful to receive one :)

    • Zane the Experimenter

      On its way soon ;)

  • Willsonjc

    If you still have an invite I’d love one.

    I love the blog and have taken to recreating a bit of your work for myself.
    Thanks for blazing a trail.

    • Zane the Experimenter

      No problem ;) Invite on the way soon!

  • Fede Gold

    Is there any way to create a new album in the android app, i dont want to just post photos, i want to create a new album (a picasa album) from the G+ app and choose who i share it with and the location.

  • Daniel T.

    Would love an invite! Really informative stuff btw

  • Larkjackson

    I would realy enjoy an invite! could you please send me an invite to

  • Cfarias73

    Invite meeee!!!!!!!! please !!!!!!!!!

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