Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Review: Google+ Android App

Greetings,
    Once again I bring you another review. This time, it is the Google+ Android Application available on the Android Market Place. Its free, so if you have an Android phone and a Google+ account, feel free to give it a spin.

    I really wish I could take a screen shots of my phone, but at this moment I cannot. I looked into it and I would need to install a lot of software that I don't need and would never use in order do it. So for now anyway, that option is not available.

    On to the app. The app itself is fairly small at 7.87Mb and only using 7.97Mb of space on the phone itself. It does however require quite a few permissions. It needs access to: Your Personal Information, Default, Your Location, Network Communication, Your Accounts, Storage, Phone Calls, System Tools. Most of this I understand, and there is not too much to worry about. The part about "Your Personal Information" is for reading contact data. I would assume this is so it can offer you more "suggestions" for people to add to your circles, but that is just an assumption. The reason for the "Phone Calls" is to (from the app) "read phone state and identify". This is probably so it doesn't interfere with calls and to "identify" the phones owner (gmail.com address) so it links to the correct Google+ account. Again I am assuming here, and you know what they about assuming anything.

    I have a first generation Motorola Droid phone, on that screen the widget is full width, so make sure you have space on a desktop for it. From there you can launch the Google+ app, post messages, take and share photo's, or review photo's already uploaded.

    The main feature about the app that I really like is the "Auto Upload". What it does is upload photos as you take them to a "private" library on your Google+ account. No one can see them yet. You can still Select photo's to share from your phone end even leave comments about them, but the "Auto Uploaded" photo are not shared by default. This is great just in case you snap that really embarrassing one.

    From the app itself you can view streams, photo's, your profile, circles, and even start a huddle on your phone or join one already in progress. The app really is smart for the most part. Once again however, Google+ drops the ball on notification. For some reason I am forced to acknowledge the same notifications four or five times before it goes away. Since this is the same problem that I was concerned with in my post about Google+ (the site), I am once again being forced to assume it is a notification problem with the site, and not with the Android App itself.

    For the most part, even on my now venerable first generation moto-droid, the app is very responsive and the simple interface doesn't feel at all cluttered. In fact, at times it actually feels like they are going out of their way to use space. There really is a lot of room for more "stuff." Then again, if your phone is even older than mine, you may have a bit of a problem. I really wouldn't think so, but stranger things have happened.

    I did have one issue that may or may not be related to the app itself. When I got home to plug in phone to my MacBook Pro, the application was still uploading the last photo. I made the mistake of mounting the SD Card to gain access to the pictures via my laptop. Rather than the app just quitting, or otherwise stop what it was doing, the app forced a rather rapid restart of the phone. No warnings or nice shutdown screen. Just a blank screen, then a clean boot screen animation. I gave the phone a few moments to complete this. It is getting on in age and it can take some time to get going. Sort of like me in the morning.

    Overall I give the app four and half stars. There is definitely room for the app to do more than it does, but then again I like the clean interface. They also need to fix that darn notification issue. Ack!