The Google+ App has now been updated for the iPad. Image: Christina Bonnington/Wired
Just a few weeks after Google introduced its slick new Google+ app for Android phones, Android tablets and the iPhone, the company released its first Google+ app for iPad users.
Google is sometimes criticized for its less-than-attractive app offerings and UI, but its recent iOS offerings and app updates show a much more refined attention to aesthetics, and a virtually bug-free experience.
The Google+ app for iPad. Image: Christina Bonnington/Wired
The Google+ iPad app is not unlike the one for Android slates. Stylistically, it’s the same, featuring large, photo-heavy rectangular blocks, which fly into place as you flick to see past posts. Navigation, too, is nearly identical.
You can start a video-chat Hangout from within the app by accessing the main menu that hides underneath the left side of the screen. And you can change which of your Circle’s posts you want to view by tapping the header at the top of the app.
One notable addition in the iPad version is the ability to use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to expand individual posts, making it easier to comment or +1 them (and pinch again to close out the post). As you expand a post with two fingers, it feels like you’re manipulating a small card floating on the surface of the iPad’s screen — the post will twist and move with the movement of your fingers.
I only encountered one problem: The app got hung up on a photo in my private “Instant Uploads” gallery. But the problem, whether due to the app itself or a weak wireless connection, didn’t repeat itself.
Google also added previously Android-only functionality to the Google+ iPhone app today. Now, you can add and view Events in the app, and add comments or photos to Events. The new Google+ Events feature is not listed as an item in the menu bar of the iPad app, but events do show up on your Home screen. Although you can change your RSVP status for an Event from the iPad app, you can’t add photos or comments, or create events like you can in the iPhone or Android versions.
In its current state, the Google+ iPad app has some limitations, like the lack of Events and the Messenger feature. But it’s clear Google has put a lot of thought into how people will use its social networking app, and on what type of hardware. Each version of the app provides an experience subtly optimized for that mobile device, and the iPad is no exception.