iPad and even Android users have to wait on the new Google+ app update, but Apple iPhone users can get the free app now and the update seems to be a winner.
Google has made G+ images larger with the iPhone app, and updated the stream with some smooth, subtle animations and gradients. Even though the app isn't optimized for the new HD iPad, it is compatible, but the website version may still be the best option for iPad users.
While this is a great strategy for many new companies in the enterprise 2.0 era, G+ is doing so in a bit of a surprising way. For example, updating the G+ iPhone app before the Android version may seem counterintuitive, given Android is made by Google. However, the Android version of the G+ app was already better than the iPhone version, so this move gets the iPhone version up to speed.
New scrolling and image features highlight Google's focus on a unified design across platforms.
Additionally, the company promised a new G+ app update coming to Android, and there's even more extra features to be added. In other words, Android is getting new stuff the iPhone won't have because the new features just aren't ready yet.
Besides, this is a good way to test the new app before it goes live on Google's own system. For iPhone users, this is good news because the Facebook app is not that great, so this gives people even more incentive to try out or use G+ on their iPhones as their go-to social network.
New UI and Stream
This update isn't about new features, there are very few. It's a new design, and that serves a visual function as well as a customer experience function. The +1 button does feature more prominently in the stream, however, and that is new.
Most of the update is focused on making G+ simpler and more visual. This will be most important for new HD handsets on the horizon and is also why Google should explore a future update for the HD iPad. Imagine this video, posted below, in HD on the 10-inch iPad screen.
When scrolling through posts, the fading effect animation is very eye-catching, and on a brightly colored mobile device, very attractive. It's a good design element that may have been influenced by Kevin Rose, a recent addition to the Google team from startup Milk, Harrison Weber at The Next Web pointed out in a blog post.
Besides larger pictures and the fancy animation element, it's now easier to switch between circles, and there's a new sans serif font that looks a bit more modern. Tell us in the comments if you're stoked about a new Android version of G+ or if you think an HD optimized version for the iPad is more important.