Mountain View, California -- Striving to keep its handful of users glued to its emerging social hub, search engine giant Google has finally answered the humble requests of iPad users craving for a dedicated Google+ app for their tablet. The company on Tuesday formally released a gorgeous new iPad app for its Google+ social network is now live in the App Store, the company announced today on its blog.
The company first disclosed plans for a tablet-optimized version of Google+ at its recently held I/O conference. The Android Google+ tablet app has already been released, and now it is the iPad's turn.
And Alas! It is an impressive-looking application that shames Facebook's mobile app design. While Google+ the network is much less exciting than Facebook, it’s easy to see Google is at least owning on the design front.
According to a Google blog post, the Google+ iPad app “was moulded with the device in mind.” The news stream will feature posts based on popularity, type, and orientation. Pinch to expand posts and comment, or use two fingers to easily drag and re-share an item. Users can also start a Hangout from the iPad and stream it to the TV using AirPlay.
The tablet announcement at I/O also consists the introduction of Google+ Events, a new social planning service. Google+ Events works before, during, and after a party, culling in photos in real-time, for example.
In fact, with todays' significant update, users can create and manage Google+ Events from the iPhone. “Post a comment, upload a photo or check out who is going. Your past event invitations are saved with all the photos and posts shared by your friends, so you can relive the party anytime you want,” Google said.
Most importantly, the app functions similarly to the iPhone application. There are controls that allow users to access the various elements of the social network, including their own stream, profile, circles, and account settings. Uses can make effortlessly make modifications to these elements of the app and service that previously were read-only in the browser-based version of Google+.
Besides, the main stream of posts is absolutely marvellous. Previously, the stream was limited to blocky-looking vertical list of posts. The new stream flows horizontally or vertically, depending on the way you are holding the device. What is more, there are multi-touch gestures baked into the user interface that allow users to rearrange the posts however they like. There are tools at the top of the stream that let users parse between circle groupings, such as All, What's Hot, Nearby, etc.
Interestingly, one of the best features for the app (and Google+ as a whole) is undoubtedly the video “Hangouts,” which fits well with the iPad's design. The company writes:
There is nothing like catching up with friends face to face. Now you can start a video chat with up to nine friends anywhere, anytime, with Hangouts on iPhone and iPad. Turn on ringing notifications so your friends know to join the Hangout.
Among other things, beyond simply looking nicer, several key features that had previously been unavailable to iPad Google+ users are now on board. Take a look at Google+ for iPad photo below to get an idea of what a video Hangout looks like.
Well, to get started, tap “Hangout” from the main menu, add some friends, and tap “Start.” We will ring their phones, if you want, and if someone misses the hangout, they can ring you back with a single tap.
Moving forward, before today's release, iPad users had just two options for using Google+ on their tablet, neither of which was rewarding. The first involved using the iPhone app, which was a scaled-up, pixelated mess that could work only in portrait orientation. The second was using a mobile-optimized version of Google+ in the Safari browser, which lacked functionality and offered a half-complete experience at best.