Google+ for Android

Google+ for Android is a clean and intuitive mobile app that gives you all of the powers of its desktop counterpart save for the games and a few other minor features.

Google+ for Android is a clean and intuitive mobile app that has all of the powers of its desktop counterpart save for the games and a few other minor features.

The Google+ app opens up to a dashboard of icons leading to the different sections of the service: Stream, Messenger, Photos, Profile, and Circles. As a whole, the interface looks and feels very much like the full desktop version of Google+, and navigating the app is incredibly intuitive.

Stream is really the lifeblood of Google+. By default, this section of the app displays feeds for All Circles, Nearby Google+ users (based on your GPS location), and Incoming posts. Additionally, you can add your own feeds if you want to keep tabs specifically on Family, Co-workers, and so on. To move between feed views, simply swipe left and right.

Within your Stream, you can do almost everything you can on the full desktop version of Google+. You can easily comment on and +1 items, and of course, you can create your own posts with pictures, videos, and location tags. You can even join an active Hangout if you come across one in the stream. Unfortunately, the Google+ app doesn't let you start a Hangout, but we're betting the feature is on its way.

The Messenger feature lets you chat with one or more of your Google+ connections from a single panel. You can even add photos to your conversation, either from your album, or directly from your Android camera. The feature is easy to use and has tons of potential when it comes to coordinating with friends. For instance, it could be a more convenient and powerful alternative to mass-texting, if most of your friends are on Google+, that is.

As expected, this is the hub for all of your photos and videos, It provides a simple interface for viewing and commenting on items from your circles, items you're tagged in, and, of course, all of your own album items. Unfortunately, unlike the desktop version of Google+, the app doesn't let you share, add tags to, or download items that aren't in the "From your phone" album.

One thing we love about the Google+ app is that it includes an Instant Upload feature, which automatically backs up pictures and videos taken on your Android device. By default, these items go into the private "From your phone" album, where you can easily access and share them at your convenience. Of course, you can disable Instant Upload if you're worried about battery drain, but we think it's a super-convenient feature that should be utilized.

Here, you can see your Google+ public profile page, all of your posts, and all of your photos. Unfortunately, you cannot edit any of your profile information (except for your photo) from the Google+ app, which is a minor letdown.

This section of the app lets you view and manage all of your Google+ Circles just as you can do on Google+ desktop. You can easily view posts and photos for individual Circles, create new Circles, and move people between Circles. The experience here is very much the same as it is on the desktop.

Overall, we think the Google+ app provides an excellent way to interface with the Google+ social space while on the go. While it does appear to be missing a few features, given how young the app is, we are confident that Google is on its way to porting them over. If you use the Google+ service at all, or if you're just an Android owner looking for something new to play with, we highly recommend this download.

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