Google

Google+ Android App – Getting from Good to Great

I’ve been traveling since the arrival of Google+ and therefore have been forced to use it almost exclusively from my Android phone. I’ve enjoyed the Google+ app immensely – it’s a really good app – but there are a few features that, taken together, would significantly enhance the experience of using the app.

In short, the app designers need to focus on answering this question: “what if the user has to use the Android app (virtually) exclusively?” The app works great as an add-on to the web app.  But a truly mobile user may be stuck with using the app exclusively for days if not weeks, and may bump his head on the tiny limitations of the app and give up.  These enhancements would go a long way towards solving these problems.

Ability to Parse Links into Previews

In the web app, there are four ways to enhance your post – Add Photo, Add Video, Add Link, and Add Location.  In the Android app, one of these – Add Link – is not available.  When you add a link, it just gets pasted in, and Google+ doesn’t create the nifty thumbnail / summary of the page to encourage viewers to click through.

Ability to Edit Posts and Control Sharing

In the web app, you can edit and delete posts as well as control resharing.  It is imperative that these functions be added to the Android app.

Ability to +Mention Someone Who Isn’t Already in Your Circles

When I comment on a post in the web app, the app is able to convert +mentions into hyperlinks.  in the Android app, this only works if the user is in one of your circles.  Otherwise, the app doesn’t prompt you with the correct name, nor does it create the hyperlink.  This should work the same on the web or on the phone.

Improved Notifications

I’ve found notifications on the phone to be spotty at best.  Usually it notifies me only after launching the app and reading the posts… not really a useful notification.

After using the Google+ application exclusively for a week, I feel confident that if it supported these features / functions, it would be where it really needs to be in order to keep people using Google+ when they’re away from their computer for extended periods.

Google Trips on Video Chat Rollout

This morning Google announced its new video chat capability with an eye-catching link at the top of the Gmail window.  Clicking the link takes you to this page, where you can see a nifty video that makes video chat look pretty cool.  But the link to “Get Started” takes you to a dead page (http://mail.google.com/videochat).

The interesting thing isn’t that the service coughed up blood on its first day out.  The interesting thing is that, ten hours later, http://mail.google.com/videochat is still 404.

It can be hard to revive an overwhelmed application, but it’s really, really easy to put up a page to let users know what’s going on.

I wonder why Google is leaving this page 404?  It doesn’t inspire confidence.