Google+ Android app review - can Google compete with Facebook?

The constant changing of Facebook is pissing me off. And a lot of others as well, from what I gather.

It seems that more frequently that anyone would want, you have to almost relearn how Facebook works, only to discover that it no longer does what you always used it to do, or you have to spend a lot of time finding out how to do it.

I was so fed up, I finally sucuumbed to giving Google+ a try. I can't abandon FB (, but if Google+ is better, or at least good, I'm happy to promote it, even if it means that I have find more time to update even more social media crap. Or not.

Google+ is Google's answer to Facebook. And, at first glance it's pretty cool social networking program. Once you sign up (either a new account or log in with an existing Google account) you are through just a couple of options. There really isn't a lot to do if you already have a Google/Gmail account.

First stop: Circles

After signing up with Google+, you see a screen that shows all of your contacts who have already joined. Now you have an opportunity to add them to Circles. Circles are groups of friends, acquaintances, family, business associates, etc. You click on the contact and add them to whichever circle they fit in (or more than one). Then, when you want to send a message you can target it only to the group you want. Very cool. I'm sure this feature will be included in an upcoming, annoying upgrade to Facebook. The problem is, who wants to go backward through all of your FB friends and add them to a specific "circle." If Google+ takes off, you can just add them as you go.

Once set up, your account automatically creates photo albums with any other Google accounts you may have set up under that Google account. So, in my case, it created individual photo albums of images attached to a couple of my blogs. You can also add photos either online or on the fly with your Android device.

I'm not sure, but I think Google may manipulate the Google+ ratings data in the Android Market. The overall rating gave it over four stars, but when I was reading the comments it seems that most of them are negative.

I downloaded it and it works fine on my HTC Thunderbolt 4G.

I need to explore more, but it seems like a pretty simple app allowing you to see your profile, photos, news feed, etc. Not all that unlike FB. One of the features I tried, and I think I like, is setting the Google+ app on your Android device to automatically upload every photo you take on your phone to your Google+ account. Don't worry, everyone can't see every pic you take. They are initially stored in a private folder until you decide to release and share them. I like that because you always have a backup of your photos without doing anything.

All in all, it looks like a nice alternative to Facebook. But, at this time I think only one person is seeing my messages. Can Google compete in this arena? Stay tuned.

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