Over the weekend, Google released a nice little update to the iOS version of the Google+ mobile app, and it included quite a few improvements, both documented and undocumented.
First, the update stated that…
– Full resolution backup of your photos and videos – this is one of the features mentioned in Google’s announcement last month, and refers to how the images you take with your iPhone, if you have this turned on, will automatically be uploaded to your Google+ account to be easily shared – and are uploaded at full, gorgeous resolution rather than a scaled down version with lower quality. The default privacy setting is still “for your eyes only.”
– Updated design for the notification tray – this brings the recent changes to desktop notifications to the mobile platform. In a nutshell, new notifications are bright, while viewed but not dismissed notifications will be greyed out. Old, dismissed notifications are visible by tapping on Previous Comments.
– Share your location, see where your friends are, control who is displayed on the map – more on this in a moment.
– Translate posts and comments inline – this is a fabulous feature that’s been available on desktop for a while now, and is particularly useful for businesses and bloggers with a Global reach. When someone speaking another language comments on your posts, find out what they’re saying faster! (TIP: You can use Google Translate to translate a response of your own into their language, and copy & paste it as a comment, just be careful. Automated translations are not 100% accurate.)
– Additional bug fixes and performance improvements
While we’ve been able to tag a location and share it as part of a status update for a long time, this new feature is a bit different. Tap to open the left menu from within the Google+ app and tap on Locations.
Note that in order for this to function, you must have enabled Location sharing within your device settings. If you haven’t, open your iOS Settings, tap on Privacy, then Locations, and enable permission for the Google+ app.
The Locations feature initially displays a localized map with your current location noted. If there are other Google+ users that you have circled within your area, you will see their profile pic. Like all Google Maps, you can zoom in and out by pinching and look for more of your friends and connections. If you see a friend or someone you’re interested in learning more about, you can tap their profile pic and open their Google+ profile. As you zoom out, aggregate users will have their profile pics contained within a single circle and a number indicating how many people you know are there.
To quickly see all of the Google+ users who are sharing their location with you, tap on the People icon in the lower left side (see screenshot above). You can scroll through the list, tap anyone you want, and view their profile pic on their local map. At any time, tap the arrow in the lower right to return to your own profile and location.
Tap the settings icon in the upper right to adjust your Location settings specific to Google+. You can turn on or off Location sharing entirely, as well as adjust who can view your own location. As with most Google+ features, you can specify permissions based on circles, so you can pick and choose which of your circles get to see your location. You have complete control over this setting. And if you don’t want to grant permissions to everyone within one or more circles, consider creating a new circle just for Location Sharing and put people in that circle as needed. You can also choose specific people.
You can opt to allow your City location to be shown publicly, and your Pinpoint location to only be shared to specific people or circles.
The map can be changed from abstract map to satellite view within the settings.
Finally, if you tap on Filter Map within settings, you can pick and choose which of your circles you’re seeing. Just like within your own settings, you will only see profiles for people you’ve circled who have given you permission to see them, but with the filter you can select which of your circles contain people whom you may be interested in seeing their location, if they choose to share it. When you review the list, it will tell you real-time how many people within the circle are sharing with you, and you can enable or disable circles as needed.
When you tap on a comment notification, not only will the post come up on which that comment appears, but if you wait a moment, Google+ will take you directly to the relevant mention or comment. This is great for those intense conversations and you have one mention buried within 100 comments that you want to find.
Unfortunately, my most-requested feature of being able to switch accounts and Pages within the app, without having to sign out and sign back in, has not yet been implemented. But perhaps you’ve noticed some other changes or tweaks worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments, or tell me what you think about Location Sharing. Will you use it?