I have been trying to get familiar with Google+, the so called ”Facebook and Twitter” killer of the search engine giant. It’s in early beta, so I don’t want to make any kind of judgement how good or bad it is. It will need more time and users to prove its place too. However, there are positive new things which make me want to follow it, especially Circles, a new way of grouping friends, family members, colleagues and just random people whose thoughts are interesting to follow.
However, one big problem is the modest mobile support at the moment. Google+ has a very simple and badly working mobile site for Symbian, and they have published a more sophisticated app based service for Android phones. The situation is quite bad compared to how you can connect with Facebook and Twitter on all the smartphone and tablet platforms in different ways. I have got addicted to Facebook pretty much, because they have a decent mobile site m.facebook.com which I’m checking many times a day typically when I’m waiting for something etc.
I assume Google is working hard to improve this. There’s a nice To-Do list in the UnwiredView.com article.
It will be interesting to see if Google will favour Android in the future too, or will iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone users get a good Google+ client, or at least a good mobile site. There have been some unofficial iOS apps already, but I’ve heard developers complain Google would need to open more APIs to get better third party support.
As Google+ is in early beta, many Android users (for example some using Samsung Galaxy S) have complained the Google+ Android client has made their phone slower and unstable,
More and more native apps seem to be needed. Could HTML5 be a better solution? Building a native app for all the platforms of all the services doesn’t seem like a realistic future. TechCrunch had a good summary of the apps versus HTML5 situation back in February 2011. Research VP Ray Valdes from Gartner made some interesting points about HTML5 versus Adobe Flash already last year, but the situation has not changed pretty much since then.
Here in Finland media companies and service providers are announcing with new apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets in fast pace, and many have published apps for Nokia’s Symbian smartphones too. Most of them are free, and there’s no clear business model. I would guess in the future we will see more HTML5 based services instead of native apps, but this is a big enough topic for another blog post.