Google just rolled out an update to its Google+ Android app, revamping the layout of the “stream” with bigger photos and less white space, similar to the app’s recent update on iOS. Another highlight: Now users can start video chats — also known as hangouts — right from their phones.
In a blog post, Google says the update is all about “polish and performance.” The change in layout and navigation ties with the search giant’s recent changes to the look of its services, what it calls a “simpler, more beautiful Google.”
Now when users launch the app, they’ll be brought right to their stream instead of a sparse menu of options that’s heavy on the white space. To navigate, simply touch the stream icon (the “house”) in the top right corner. That brings up a menu that slides in from the side — similar to how Facebook‘s mobile apps work.
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Google has had mobile support for its multi-person video hangouts since last fall, but today’s update (version 2.6) brings the ability to start them from your Android device, phone or tablet. “Hangout” is now in the main navigation menu — simply tap it and enter the name, email or circle of the people you want to chat with (Hangouts support up to 10 people simultaneously chatting).
In addition to enhanced hangout abilities, Google+ for Android now lets you +1 posts right from the stream, download photos from posts, and even edit posts right on your phone.
Checking out the new version on a couple of Samsung Galaxy devices, we love the improved layout and navigation. The larger layouts for photos really beg to be touched, and the way they “fade in” as you swipe make the app feel more dynamic than it is.
What do you think of the Google+ update? Share your thoughts in the comments.