Google+ (Android) review: Google+ still beats Facebook's mobile app

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Google+ for Android has a stunning visual interface. Photo tools and location features make it a powerful social networking app.

The Bad Redundant photo buttons are confusing.

The Bottom Line Whether you're a regular Google+ user or just interested in the app's photo-editing or auto-upload features, Google+ for Android is a must-have.

Free

9.7 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 10.0
  • Features and Support 9.0
  • Interface 10.0
  • Performance 10.0

Editors' note: This review was updated on August 19, 2013, to cover features added in the latest version.

The latest version of Google+ for Android has a beautiful interface with clean lines and sharp angles that match up closely with the look of the Web version. As always, the slide-out navigation menu on the left is still the best way to get around the app, giving you easy access to your Profile, Hangouts, Photos, Circles, and more.

New to the Google+ app is an easy account switcher. Now, you can add multiple Google accounts, and right from the navigation bar on the left, quickly jump between them in just a few taps.

Home
The Home screen is the lifeblood of Google+. With the little drop-down at the top, you can choose to show feeds from All Circles, Nearby, What's Hot (trending posts), or any of your individual circles. As of yet, though, you can't create a custom feed with more than one circle (Family & Friends, for instance). Visually, this screen absolutely blows Facebook's Timeline out of the water. Icons are sleek and the large photos are eye-catching. Also, in the latest version landscape mode gives you a two-column layout similar to the three-column experience in the latest version of Google+ on an Internet browser, and I think it looks great.

From your Home screen, you can do almost everything you can in the full desktop version of Google+. You can easily comment on, Reshare, and +1 items, and, of course, you can create and edit your own posts with pictures, videos, and location tags. In the latest version of the app, you'll now also see auto hashtags, which let you search for more content about what's in the post. With the new auto hashtags and the new interface in the latest version, the Home feed feels both more attractive and more useful for getting to new content.

Profile
Here, you can see your Google+ public profile page, all of your posts, and all of your photos. You can edit much of your profile information from the Google+ app, which was something you couldn't do in previous versions. From the Settings screen, you also can choose to share your current location on your Profile if you like. Just turn Location Sharing on and choose which Circles you want to share the information with.

Google+ for Android
View full gallery (6 Photos)
When you turn your phone to landscape mode, you get a two-column layout reminiscent of the Web version of Google+. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Photos
As expected, this is the hub for all of your photos and videos. It provides a simple interface for viewing and commenting on items from your circles, items you're tagged in, and, of course, all of your own album items. What's more, Google+ Photos can now link to your Google Drive (with your permission). This means you can share, add tags to, or download photos from your cloud storage account, too.

Hot Products

 

Discuss Google+ (Android)

Conversation powered by Livefyre