Most of my readers know that I am a lover of all things Google, including Android. It is very rare that I make a claim that an iPhone feature is better than an Android feature. It is especially hard for me to stake this claim when it comes to a Google product. As much as it pains me to type this, the Apple iPhone Google Plus app is better than the Android Google Plus app (in certain ways). Do not get me wrong, I think the Android app is great, but there are a few features that the iPhone app does better.
Circles are the Foundation of Google Plus
Google Plus was created with privacy as the backbone. Internet users have repeatedly complained about privacy when it come to other social networks. Google recognized this and allowed users to create circles to direct outgoing information. If I did not want my parents to see pictures of my trip to Las Vegas I could share those pictures with just my “college buddies” circle. If I didn’t want my college friends to see pictures of my family reunion I would simply share that content with my “extended family” circle. I think you get the idea.
One of the great features of Google Plus is a user can notify a circle when it comes to a very important post. Warning! Before creating a circle and notifying those individuals of every single post it is important to remember that people are busy. I do not send notifications to individuals unless they have proven they want to read my content through comments or personal messages. If a user sends out too many notifications they become nosy and Google Plus has two awesome features – mute and block. I try to avoid using the block feature but if I get three notifications a day about a ski trip in Vail I am probably going to consider blocking that person; I will definitely mute them. Now that the warning is complete we must recognize that the ability notify a group of interested individuals can be very powerful.
I have built my following around social media and technology related content. We can talk Apple vs Android or Google vs Facebook all day. This is something they enjoy so I do not feel bad to notify them when I write a 1000 word article explaining why the Google Plus app for the iPhone is better than the Android. I digress…
Apple iPhone Google Plus App Features
The image to the left shows the Apple iPhone Google Plus app screen when looking at who +1′d a post. As you can see, under the name of each user I can see the circle(s) that I have for that particular user. Any user with nothing under their name is not in any circles. This is an awesome feature because it allows me to see where I have categorized an active user. If I notice that Clayton Pritchard comments and +1s on all my Android related posts I probably need to put him in my Android circle. This is especially important for those that are not in any circle. If I consistently see the user Diane Barnett popping up as an individual who comments and +1s I probably need to contact her and ask her if she would like to be in a notification circle for my “juiciest” social media or tech related content.
Something else that the iPhone app does that is unique is the calculation of +1s on this particular screen. The Android app will tell the user how many +1s a post has but not in the screen that displays who has +1′d a particular post. One last feature about the Apple iPhone Google Plus app that I love – the scroll down to update feature. I am not sure if Twitter has made this part of my life but I simply want to use my thumb to slide down the screen and get updates. This is available in the notification box on iPhone but not on Android. On Android there is a refresh circle you must use to update your notifications.
I know this is splitting hairs but I get over 500 notifications a day and I want them to be efficient. I also want to be able to manage my circle from my mobile device. I use the desktop version of Google Plus quite a bit but I think I honestly use the mobile version even more. Being able to get more efficient notifications and maintaining my circles from the palm of my hand makes life so much easier.
Android Jelly Bean Google Plus App Features
As stated at the beginning of this article, I love all things Google. I cannot express in words how much I enjoy my Nexus 4. It is one of the best pieces of technology I have ever used in my lifetime. That said, the features mentioned above are not available on the Google Plus app for Android. Lets take a look.
The image to the left shows the Android Google Plus app when looking at who +1′d a post. Notice the difference from the iPhone iOS app. First of all, you do not see how many users have +1′d a post. This is not a concern for me as the previous screen will show me that. This issue I have is that I cannot see the circles that I have these users. I can click on the user to see their profile page which will show me the circles I have them in but that is one too many steps. If Rand Wilson is an iPhone lover and an Android hater I probably do not want to notify him of all my Android related content. If Lauren Sutton is a diehard Facebook user I may not want to send her my, “The Exodus of Facebook is Coming” posts. Well, maybe I do. That is neither here, nor there.
As noted before, I also cannot slide down to update my notifications. The notification box can only be updated by hitting the refresh circle. These are features that I would love to see Android implement in the very near future.
If circle management and notifications are important to you the iPhone Google Plus app is better. It pains me to say it, but I am only reporting the facts on March 7th, 2013.