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Why I’m Bullish on Google+ Again

I joined Google+ on the day that it became available, and have always enjoyed the service. I generally find the web interface to offer a nice, visual view that allows me to easily connect with and browse the work of other photographers. It’s a much nicer experience that some other leading social networks.

While the Google+ web browser experience was pretty good, their mobile experience (at least on the iPhone) was pretty bad. There was a lot of wasted space, navigation was cumbersome, and some serious performance problems made it an onerous task to do something as simple as post a status update or share a photograph. My mobile photo sharing continued to focus on other applications while I mostly ignored Google+ when I was away from my desk.

The lack of a good mobile app led me to question how much time I’d spend with the service in the future. I became skeptical.

And then last week, this happened:

Google+ photo display Google+ photo display

An update to the iPhone app brings a new, beautiful photo-centric display which makes browsing a Google+ steam a very nice experience… arguably even better than the Instagram stream which now looks a bit plain by comparison. It’s easy to +1 photos (just tap on the + count), easy to comment, and the performance when posting new items is improved. In short, Google got this mobile experience right. Mobile photography is a big deal ($1 billion for Instagram, anyone?), and a beautiful mobile experience represents a big plus (pun intended) for Google.

There’s one big piece that’s missing (still): an API for third-party apps. My current mobile photo workflow involves using Camera Awesome to upload mobile photos to SmugMug and then cross-post to social services (sometimes Twitter, sometimes Facebook, sometimes Instagram). If I could post the images easily to Google+ as well, that would be a huge time-saver that could only increase my usage of Google+ while on the go.

I’m on the fence about switching to Google+ as my primary mobile social network (instead of Instagram). The API would make it easier, but it’s not too bad now with the new app. There’s a local Instagram meetup in a few days; I’m curious to hear what other Instagram users think about the new Google+ interface…

Join me?

Comments

  1. Interesting thoughts, Aaron. Who would guess a couple of months ago that Instagram and Facebook would consolidate and Google+ would make a shift into a much more competitive mobile photo sharing ability. The default for most people is Facebook and the Instagram addition is just icing on their cake, and Facebook is constantly morphing to reinvent it’s mobile self. But Google+ offers a network that beckons many media folks and this latest shift may benefit us all with an even better toolset. I can’t wait for my Android version of the new mobile G+

  2. Peter says:

    Google has never been known for a good design. It’s only this year (2012) that they improved a lot but this is mostly a bad copy of what Microsoft already had years ago with their Hotmail and other Live services.
    But anyway. I don’t think G+ will get much audience. A few months ago I read some analyses ant it only had about 0.74% of a market share. This is nothing. Even Pinterest which is much newer service has a bigger market share. I think Google days already saw their peak.

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