July 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Huddle is a group-messaging system that allows people to communicate with friends. So rather than contact Charles and then Tony to discuss Androinica stuff, we can all chat within a group. Sound like that Android version of BBM we talked about, right? There’s no inclusion of photo/location sharing yet, but it’s still early – and an iPhone version is on the way.
You may have some problems with messages failing to go through, and the flow of the conversation may look peculiar since messages may not appear in the stream later. New messages appear in the Notifications tab, but you can also Mute (stop notifications) or leave a Huddle completely. Go to that conversation and press Menu to perform those tasks or edit a Huddle’s title.
I’ve been in Huddles as small as three people and as large as 41. I’ve yet to see if there’s a max of people allowed into one group. Huddle seems like a great way to make plans or quickly discuss things in a group, so I look forward to seeing the official version.
Google+ is like Facebook, only it’s not Facebook. We’ve all seen the comic and that’s pretty much accurate. Plus, in its current format at least, doesn’t have any of the annoying game requests or foolishness that people hate about Facebook and Twitter – except for people oversharing.
Users see status updates (which I’m calling Pluses until Google reveals the official term) from everyone in their circles, but there’s no way to filter directly from the stream. In order to view Pluses from one circle, go back to the Google+ home tap on the Circles logo. Select a circle and then tap “Posts” to browse.
There are also some clever tools for discovery. Swiping left shows + users nearby , and moving to the right screen shows the incoming feed. (People who aren’t in your circle but have added you to their circle will appear here.) Using these two methods, I actually recognized someone I know who didn’t appear in my suggested contacts and met a couple of cool people.
This speaks for itself. Use the widget! Easily get to your stream, Plus something, or share photo directly from your homescreen. Clicking the + icon launches the app, entering text into the Share field will publish a Plus, clicking the camera icon launches a the camera app for photo sharing, and the Photo icon shares existing images.
Overall impressions of Google+
There are many reasons to be excited about Google+ and be cautiously optimistic about what it will become. This is just a test run, so be on the lookout for more great things to come when access is extended to more users. We’ll be sure to try to invite as many people as possible once that opens up again. In the mean time, be sure to read these great resources on how to use and understand Google Plus.