According to a Google employee, Google+ has an official iOS app currently undergoing review by Apple for release in the App Store. The native app should offer more functionality than the current HTML5 web app, but Google has been known to release less feature-rich versions of its own apps for platforms other than Android. Here are the features Google absolutely has to include with an iOS offering to make it an attractive proposition for iOS-using Google+ fans.
Possibly the most attractive feature for mobile users of Google+ is its ability to quickly and easily initiate group or individual messaging sessions through Huddle. Huddle is a bit like BlackBerry Messenger, and a bit like the Facebook-acquired Beluga. Even though it has its quirks at this stage in the beta, it also boasts a lot of potential once the bugs are ironed out. The web app doesn’t provide Huddle access, so the iOS app had better. It probably won’t be available through a separate shortcut, as it is on Android devices, where I think it could potentially replace text messaging apps for some users, but as long as it’s in the Google+ app, that should be enough to keep iOS users satisfied.
2. Instant Upload
It can’t be baked into the iPhone’s native camera app the way it can on Android handsets, but the iOS app should still have Instant Upload capabilities. All it needs to do is offer in-app access to the camera, and the ability to instantly upload photos taken there to your Google+ gallery for later sharing. As with Huddle, it’ll already be limited enough by Apple’s own OS restrictions to make the Android version more appealing, so there’s no reason to leave it out.
3. Push notifications
Email notifications for Google+ can be a little overwhelming. What the service really needs are native push notifications on iOS devices. Especially combined with iOS 5, notifications for Google+ will make iOS users that much more likely to continue to engage with the service. The web app lacks in this regard, since it’s much easier to forget about checking Google+ without easy, targeted reminders about specific activity taking place.
For iPhone owners I’ve spoken with who also have early access to Google+, the official iOS app can’t come soon enough. Here’s hoping that when it does arrive, it doesn’t come with any artificial feature restrictions that limit its appeal to Google’s growing crowd of social networkers.