Google+ iOS 5.2.0 Brings it Closer on Par with Android App

G+ iOS users get some of those goodies that recently made their way to the Android app.

Though the Google+ mobile app is available for both Android and iOS devices, it seems like the former gets more of the attention, in turn receiving the most recent updates first. (The same can’t be said of Hangouts, however.) After the Android app got bumped up to v7.1.0 a few weeks ago, those on iOS can now rejoice as this latest 5.2.0 update brings it closer on par with its counterpart.

The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the bottom bar now gets out of the way when scrolling, making the overall UI less cluttered and saving on precious screen real estate. Also, tapping the Home button when going through your stream brings you right back to the top, just like on the latest G+ Android version.

Before, there was no way to go through a specific stream in the app which meant using the mobile website version to do so. Now, you can now access your circles (aka “Circle Streams”) via the left navigation menu by enabling this in Settings > Advanced Settings.

One feature that was introduced in iOS 9 is universal links, where you can directly go to an app on your device after tapping a link instead of Safari. Starting in 5.2.0, the G+ app comes with universal link support, making the transition from the web to the app both seamless and effortless. If you’re stuck on iOS 8 though, you’re gonna have to miss out on this one, unfortunately.

Other new features include the ability to log in using a page that you manage, native playback for uploaded videos, and view Collections of people you’re following.

And no update is complete without the usual round of bug fixes and the addressing of various accessibility issues.

For those whose devices meet the minimum requirements, the 5.2.0 update should’ve made it by now.

Full-Screen Profile Pics, Return of New Posts Indicator Now on Google+ Web

Another update has come out for the web preview, and it’s big!

Since the release of the new Google+ back in November, lots of improvements and fixes have been coming out at a fast pace, to the delight of us G+ fans. This time, it’s no exception, so let’s jump in and see what this newest update brings.

Full-Screen Profile Photo Gallery

For starters, you can now view profile photos of a certain person or page in a full-screen gallery. To do this, click on the circular profile picture where you’ll then be taken to a lightbox, the same as what you’d see when viewing a post’s photo.

Following Screen Update

If you want to find out who’s in your Following circle, you’ll now notice all the members, together with their profile images, laid out in grids across the screen. Although this saves from doing an extra click, I still miss the People layout in the classic Google+. It’s almost impossible to work on circle management in the new UI, no longer being able to drag and drop profiles and pages.

For now, it’s a step in the right direction, but I hope they’ll bring back the functionality of the old Google+.

New Un-Muting Capabilities

Have you ever wondered who you’ve muted previously and wanted to un-mute them? Now you can view who those profiles and pages are by heading to Settings > Activity Log > People You Muted, where un-muting them is now just a click away.(Did Luke Wroblewski actually mute Zuck?!)

Return of the New Posts Indicator

As an added bonus, the new posts indicator makes a much-awaited comeback! This time, it’s adorned in Google+ red and located at the top of the stream, underneath the red header. Personally, I’d rather see it at the bottom a la the Android and iOS apps, but I’m happy to see it back nevertheless. (Next up, hovercards?…)

Apart from these, you now have improved people search results and 101 bug fixes.

So if you’re still on the classic Google+, now might be a good time to take a second look at the web preview because you gotta admit, the new version keeps getting better with every update that comes out.

Google+ 7.2 for Android Brings Chrome Custom Tabs to All

Google+ 7.2 for Android started rolling out last week with a more immersive browsing experience when tapping links in the stream, new search features and a medium-sized dose of squashed bugs.

Right then, let’s get to it, shall we?

Chrome Custom Tabs

 

A few weeks ago, Google started testing Chrome Custom Tabs in the Google+ Android app, but only switched it on server-side for a small number of lucky users. What this means is that when you tap on a link within an app with Chrome Custom Tabs enabled, instead of firing up the full-blown version of Chrome, instead you’ll see a stripped-down and customised interface, (hopefully) matching the colour scheme of the app in which it was opened.

As you may have guessed, in Google+, the toolbar of the Chrome Custom Tab is red to match the brand, and it looks great. Another plus of this feature is that it is faster to load a webpage, slicker, and keeps the user experience consistent. Nice work, Google!

Chrome Custom Tabs have now rolled out to everyone as part of the 7.2 release which you’ll be able to update from the Play Store so have a play and let us know what you think. Hate them? No problem. You can turn them off in the settings.

Search Improvements

There has been some major improvements to search in this release. Features such as autocomplete and history are now live, so next time you need to look something up, you’ll be able to get to what you want in a little less time.

Other New Stuff

A couple of releases ago, a new feature was introduced which would let you jump straight to the top of the stream upon tapping the ‘Home’ button, located on the tab bar at the bottom. And in 7.2, this has now been made possible in Collections, Communities and Notifications.
Lots of bugs died, too. 29 bugs to be specific, and 10 accessibility issues addressed. It’s good to know that the renewed focus on Google+ has allowed for faster updates and fine combing the little issues too.

Notification Filters, Faster Custom Tabs Now on Google+ for Android 7.3.0

After a quiet week without any updates, the Google+ team has come out with v7.3.0 for the Android app.

Notification Filters

One of the most interesting features of 7.3.0 is that notifications are now categorised into three sections: All, Unread and Other Updates. The first two are pretty self-explanatory though the last one is pretty vague-sounding. No doubt, this will make it easier to see who exactly +1’d or commented on your posts, as well as those who added you to your circles.

Speedier Chrome Custom Tabs

In the last update, Chrome Custom Tabs made their much-awaited debut in the Google+ app (though it did appear for a number of users beforehand). Think of Custom Tabs as a lite version of the full Chrome app; you’ve got your share button and settings in the top-right, where you can easily switch to Chrome, not to mention the header bar matching the app’s colour.

Now when you’re on a WiFi connection, the loading speeds have gotten just that little bit faster.

If Custom Tabs aren’t your thing and you’d rather have the actual Chrome app load instead, you can easily turn it off in the settings.

Hiding of the Top Header in Collections & Communities

Having enough screen real-estate on a mobile device is very important, especially if your screen is on the small side. Google+ for Android 7.0 introduced the automatic hiding of the bottom bar, and in 7.3.0, the top header does the same thing whenever you’re scrolling through Collections and Communities.

In addition to these, you can now select multiple items at once in the Activity Log, a Community moderation mode giving moderators the ability to remove a flagged post and/or report it as spam when banning a member, and the return of the search autocomplete.

Of course, we can’t talk about any Google+ update without mentioning those squashed bugs. This time, 10 of them were fixed, as well as 4 accessibility issues being addressed.

If this update hasn’t shown up on your device yet, don’t worry – just head on over to APKMirror (which has a brand-new Material Design UI, btw).

More Updates Roll Out For the Google+ Web Preview

Just as expected, several new features for the Google+ Web Preview are released a day after Android 7.3.0.

Improved Profile Information Access

Before, if you wanted to see more information on a certain profile (or your own), you had to click a small “i” icon in the bottom-right. Its size and obscurity made it quite difficult to notice, especially against a light-coloured cover photo. Also, those not familiar with the web preview might’ve missed the icon entirely.

The Google+ team has addressed this problem by dropping the icon by replacing it with “ABOUT” in addition to turning the profile name and tagline into links as well.

Communities About Information

Another welcome change is the more-prominent display of the about info in Communities, as it was hidden behind that same “i” icon as on the profile page previously. Now, you’re presented with two drop-downs: “About Community,” which contains the description of the Community, and “Filter,” containing the various categories.

Collection Creation Shortcut

Have there been times when you wanted to post something but realised that you didn’t have the appropriate Collection for it? So you had to discard the post, go to Collections, create a new one, then re-create the post. Definitely cumbersome and time-consuming. You’ll be glad to find out that you can now create a Collection while creating a post, saving you all that effort.

Then when you’re done posting, head to your new Collection, add a tagline and change the cover photo to truly make it yours.

Wait, there’s one more…

An additional update, this time for all platforms – classic, web preview, mobile apps – is the removal of suspended accounts in the Community’s public member list. This will be great news if you’re the moderator of a Community with lots of spammy posts. Additionally, further improvements will be made to the member list “to make it work better for both members and moderators.”

What about the bugs?

Ah yes, those bugs that are a coder’s worst nightmare. Well, you’d be pleased to hear that 206 of them have had their demise, and they surely won’t be missed…

Although this web preview is still a fair way from being on par with the classic version, you gotta hand it to the folks behind it all who’ve been releasing updates on a regular basis, as well as actively listening to user feedback.

Google+ Web Preview Update

There’s no slowing down with the Google today. They’ve been grabbing feedback like bottled water before a storm and incorporating it in the preview layout. Don’t be surprised if a few updates hit your G+ before the day’s through.
These updates make me really hopeful for the direction of the platform. It shows Google is invested to keep on their toes with everything our community wants. It’s not long now that this preview layout will be ready for the big leagues. There’s still a few missing options to incorporate and improve upon, but that’s for another day.

Let’s hop right into the fixes and additions included with today’s update:

  • 41 bug fixes
  • 2 accessibility issues addressed
  • Search history
  • Improved Collection sharing
  • New pinned post indicator on Collections, Communities, and Profiles (you can now pin posts in all three)

As with all of Google’s fresh code batches, there’s going to be more on the way. The community has been looking for search improvements for a while. I’m confident there’s more where that comes from soon. In fact, could we get a search function in Hangouts, please? I can’t be the only one still using the Gmail workaround. Sorry, I’m off my soap box now.

Google Photos v1.15 for Android Released with Refreshed Navigation UI

Google Photos v1.15 for Android has gotten a (somewhat unexpected) UI update.

Gone are the swipe gestures that you could use when switching between views, and in its place is a white bottom bar: yes, you read that right – the feature on the Google+ app that’s been receiving lots of controversy from the outset – has made its way to Photos. Here, you can move between Assistant, Photos and Albums view – formerly Collections.

As mentioned above, another thing you’ll notice – once you get over that bottom bar 😉 – is the renaming of Collections toAlbums. I guess they did this to avoid confusion with G+ Collections, which kinda makes sense. The Albums view now has a scrolling carousel at the top, where you can find your Shared Albums, People, Places, Things, Videos, Collages, Animations, Movies, and Device Folders.

Personally, I miss swiping in the old Photos app as navigating between the different views just seemed so effortless. Now, however, tapping the three buttons at the bottom is pretty difficult, to say the least. I have a 5-inch Zenfone 2 Laser, so I don’t have much trouble stretching my thumb to the edge of the screen, but it would be incredibly hard for those using this on tablets.

Looking at this from a wider perspective, could this mean we’ll see the controversial bottom bar appear on other Google apps as well?

Here’s hoping the Photos team would give us the best of both worlds: leave the bottom bar, but also return the swiping gestures from one view to another.

For those on iOS, sit tight – these features will be heading your way in a future update.

Google+ for Android v7.1 Rolls Out

The Google+ team has pushed out a follow-up to this month’s major Android update.

Earlier this month the Google+ app for Android hit a milestone with the release of version 7.0.0, which included a ton of much-awaited updates, not least being the hiding of the bottom black bar when scrolling through your stream. This was in addition to the home screen now remembering your position after returning from another screen, and the display of autocomplete suggestions when searching, among other changes.

Last week, Google continued their relatively fast-pace of update releases with v7.1.0. Here, the most noticeable change is the ability to tap the Home icon to go right back to the top of your Home stream. This saves on scrolling endlessly or hitting refresh in the overflow menu. Pretty neat, don’t ya think?

Besides this, the “Keep contacts up to date” setting was fixed, along with the solving of 17 accessibility issues and the squashing of 37 bugs.

Though it was controversial to begin with (and still is), the bottom bar for me is becoming much less of an eye-sore since it’s finally out-of-sight when going through the posts in my stream.

If you haven’t received this update yet, head over to APKMirror where you can sideload the app. As always, for those new to sideloading, you can follow our step-by-step tutorial here.

Google+ Launches Create, Helping Creators Get their Deserved Audience

A community for top Google+ creators has been launched today, to help them get their deserved audience.

The newly launched Google+ Create program is for creators sharing high-quality and original content, giving them the tools and resources they need to get more recognition in the wider Google+ community. The news comes in the form of a slick site detailing the benefits of the program, as well as a link to apply.

Google+ has seen a lot of change in the last 12 months, among the biggest of which is Google+ Collections, a feature in which users can create and subscribe to category-specific posts. In fact, since launch, the most active creators are posting to a wide variety of collections, from astronomy, to latte art, and of course, cats. Google+ Create seems to work hand-in-hand with Collections, which is now Google+’s killer feature.

Members of the program get access to a whole bunch of goodies, including sneak peeks of upcoming Google+ features, direct access to the platform’s development team and a place to connect with other like-minded folks.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, you can apply here, but the selection process may be rigorous.

Google Photos for iOS Updated with Live Photos Support

Google Photos on iOS now supports auto-backup of Live Photos and receives a few smaller updates.

With the latest version of iOS, released about 6 months ago, Apple added Live Photos to the list of features for it’s smartphones. Live Photos captures a photo with sound and video before and after the moment the picture was taken to make your moments “living memories”.

Of course, since Live Photos includes video and sound as a part of the file, it takes up more space than traditional pictures. This means that users will run out of space on their devices and in the 5GB of iCloud storage that Apple gives users. However, now that Google Photos supports the moving images, Apple users can feel free to turn on the feature and no longer worry about running out of space for their pictures.

In addition to the Live Photos support, Google Photos users on iPad will be able to use the app in Split View. That means that you can now use Google Photos side-by-side with other apps supporting Split View on iPad mini 4, iPad Air 2, and iPad Pro. Also, the app now fully supports iPad Pro. Previously, the app would scale up to the iPad Pro’s 12.5 inch screen without displaying in full resolution.

The updates don’t stop there! The Google Photos app on iOS now features faster navigation. The app will now rely less on fewer hamburger menus, meaning that it will take fewer clicks to complete actions. Finally, in order to help with memory usage, the app will reduce the usage of cache when your iPhone or iPad is running low on storage.