One of my last hurdles to using Windows Phone is gone thanks to this Google+ app

18 Comments

Every time I test a new Windows Phone(s mft) handset, I get an inch closer to using one on a long-term basis. Currently my SIM card is in a Lumia 930 that comes pre-installed with the much improved Windows Phone 8.1 software. It includes the new Action Center and Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now(s goog) and Siri(s siri), to name just a few new features.

Nokia Lumia 930

So, why don’t I use Windows Phone 8.1 as a daily driver?

It typically comes down to missing apps that I need. Until recently, there was still one more work-related app that I use on iOS and Android all throughout the day. Lo and behold, it’s there and has been for nearly a year although I missed the memo: Socialcast arrived for Windows Phone last August. That leaves Google+ on Windows Phone as the lone holdout for me: I’m a heavy Google+ user seven days a week and the G+ experience on Windows Phone is dismal. At least it was until this weekend when I got a Twitter recommendation to try gPlus, a native Google+ app for Windows Phone.

While not perfect, gPlus is a very capable client. Most of the other Google+ apps I’ve found in the Windows Phone store are simply web-based clients wrapped in an app and don’t offer any additional features than using Google+ in Internet Explorer. But gPlus is different: It’s a pure Metro-style app that works far better than using IE.

Google Plus post on WP

The software supports the main Google+ stream but you can also read posts from people in your Circles or in Communities, something I often do for various groups such as the Chromebook and Moto X communities. Posts can be created for public viewing or within a Community.

Google Plus communities on WP

You can post links or photos — images already taken or use your Windows Phone camera for a new snapshot — with gPlus, and you can also view a user’s full profile.

Google Plus notifications on WP

Notifications are one area that still needs a little work. Yes, the gPlus app shows your notifications; tap the notification badge and you can view any unread items. But the gPlus notifications don’t yet appear in the Windows Phone Action Center, so you have to manually check the app for any outstanding comments or +1’s. Compared to the terrible in-browser experience of Google+ on Windows Phone, that’s a small price to pay for an otherwise excellent app.

The app is priced small, too. You can try it out free, but I opted to pay $0.99 for the full client within the first day of using it.

Google Plus post WP

 

For me, gPlus is well worth the buck, and until a better Google+ client comes along for Windows Phone, I’ll be using it from now on. In fact, I can’t think of any more missing apps that might hold me back from using Windows Phone on a longer full-time basis.

That doesn’t mean Microsoft’s mobile platform has all the apps that you and others need, of course. We all have different requirements and “must-have” applications. But if you were to ask me why I haven’t switched to Windows Phone, I really don’t have a good answer now, thanks to gPlus. Thanks, Rahul, for the app recommendation.

18 Comments

Cookmik

Kevin, I have had a problem on WP8 where my Google contacts will not sync at all. I think it was a problem with the pictures I had associated with them. Do you have this problem with the latest WP? I sold my 1020 for this reason. I wouldn’t mind going back to it if they have resolved this one issue. You help is appreciated.

Kevin C. Tofel

Hmmm…. I don’t have that problem on WP 8.1 but I never had it prior either. I solely use Google for my Contacts as well and no issues.

eideard

I remember searching for apps, software, to make computing useful. For 22 years. Then I left the IBM/MSoft mileau – and never looked back. Still no compelling reason to change back.

Vinay Deshpande

May be am a luddite when it comes to Google +, but it’s still hard to believe your stats on Google +. Glad for you though, especially if your last hurdle for using a windows phone is now gone. For my part, I will stay a luddite on G+, at least as long as Google continues coaxing me. Windows phone is a beauty though.

Daniel

The only problem I have with google is their penchant for blatantly disobeying court orders and going against their own privacy policy. They have no regard for the consumer at all, and they built it that way on purpose. I understand generating followers and such, but I still stay away from Google as much as possible due to their liberal spreading if personally identifiable information. They’ve done a spectacular job of hiding it, but that’s easy when you control the biggest search engine. That’s why I use Bing.

Darrin Rich

Would love to keep using that app. I use Googles two step authentication. Every time I close the Gplus down I have to re-enter the authentication code. Just too annoying to keep dealing with

Curtis

Does Google+ not support an “app password”? Microsoft’s system does.

CM Boo

Just what scared old Google wants… subpar experience of Google services on Windows platforms. Who knows if they will shutdown or neuter this app as they have done with others.

rcadden

I tried a similar app for my Windows RT powered Nokia Lumia 2520 and ended up giving up. Notifications, when I clicked through, attempted to open in Internet Explorer. It’s probably been improved in the meantime, but oh well.

Kevin C. Tofel

Yup, that’s typical (and annoying) behavior for the half-baked attempts or web-wrapped clients. Not so with this app; all of the activities takes place in-app. Give it a try: I’ll pay the dollar for you if you like it. :)

Gil Lopez

I feel sorry for you as Win 8.1 Phone + Google + is not a very popular combo.

(…are you really using G+?)

Kevin C. Tofel

No need to fell sorry for me: I choose what services to use. ;)

Yes, I really use G+. I was an early Twitter user (2006 IIRC) and have about 16k followers. In far less time on G+, I have 92k followers and the service generates a ton more engagement for me. Like 20x more.

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