Google's iPhone app for its new social network Google+ has just received a hefty update. Key among the new features of the Google+ app is support for Hangouts, Google's answer to multiuser videoconferencing.
Hangouts has seen a lot of use among the TUAW staff so far, and being able to use the feature on an iOS device is a big step forward. Google said support for Hangouts was "coming soon" a few days ago, and it's here now. [Commenters point out that the support only extends to joining an existing Hangout, not initiating a new one. –Ed.]
This update also rebrands Huddle as Messenger, and Messenger now supports sending photos. MacStories has a good look at some of the other tweaks, including new settings for push notifications and a preview of how Hangouts performs on the iPhone.
The Google+ app still hasn't been optimized for the iPad, so your choices remain running the mobile version of the site (which is missing many features) in Safari or running the blown-up iPhone version. Neither solution offers a particularly compelling experience on the iPad, however. With Facebook's iPad app still MIA even after f8, Google has a real opportunity to address a huge userbase that neither it nor Facebook have properly targeted yet. If the company's goal is to "out-social" Facebook, a Google+ iPad app would go a long way to accomplishing that.
Changes in the latest update are outlined below.
- Join Hangouts from the mobile app
- Huddle is now Messenger
- Send photos in Messenger
- +1 on comments
- Reliability improvements in Messenger
- Granular push notification settings
- Map view in profile for places you've lived
- Improved +mention support
- Share a post with individuals
- Improved public search for people
- Various bug and performance improvements