With Facebook, Twitter, Diaspora, and now Google releasing social mobile apps for smartphones, the ambience is akin to salesmen vying for your attention on the street. The new Android app from Google is a shot across the bow of Facebook and all the other social apps out there.
The big question for the new effort from Google is; “Will it fly ?”. Facebook has 700,000 members and with its popularity has managed to squeeze out Google and Myspace both for internet traffic. Myspace is being sold for pennies on the dollar, but apparently, Google is not going to sit back and take it. The result is Google+. Myspace, Friendster, Diaspora, Twitter, Groupon, Foursquare and Facebook are now going to get a taste of what “Big G” can do.
The app ( application ) that Google created for their Android platform was created to connect users. It uses a new feauture called “Circles”. This is a rendition on the phrase “circle of friends”. Other parts of the app are called “Stream”, “Huddle”, “Photos” and “Profile”. Adding photos with a camera is standard fare with the Google+ app. Including a GPS location with the photo is left up to the user. Filtering what is seen in the Stream is done by Circles or by location. The photo app has an automatic setting so that any photo is sent to the Google+ profile by default.
The “Huddle” feature in Google+ is similar to the GroupMe program or the “lists” function in Twitter. It allows group chats and those ever popular “flash groups” to take place. For example, a group can talk together over the Huddle feature and plan on where to meet up for lunch. The irony of the name is that there is already a five year old company named “Huddle”. They raised 14.2 million and have to do with, you guessed it, groups and messaging. Will there be a suit ? Stay tuned to the “mobile soaps” as the story unwinds.
It looks like Google+ has a few goodies lined up for the future. Its users have been searching the code behind Google+ and finding some tasty tidbits. When a smartphone is held in portrait mode, the normal way of holding a handset with Google+, there is a blank portion on the bottom right. Something obviously is planned for that spot. People who have been messing with the code of Google+ have found references to “Google+ Games”. It is an obvious addition, but the news for now is just the code. There are no announcements so far. But when history is called up, it shows that Facebook exploded in popularity because of their games. Look for an iPhone app to go with the Android version soon.