Google spent quite a bit yesterday talking up Google+ and the importance of mobile. They found that over half of Google+ users are now accessing the service via mobile devices and that number is only growing. They’re going to have to capitalize on this but how? They can always copy Facebook’s approach to mobile growth and integration.
The Google+ team announced yesterday that they were bringing Google+ to mobile in a big way. Most of the mobile features announced are ripped straight from Facebook’s mobile strategy, but that might be what Google+ needs right now. I may not be a fan of that approach, but it’s one of those moments where it’s better to evolve current services instead of trying to innovate.
To that end, mobile developers can now get their hands on the Google+ platform for mobile. It’s in an early developer preview at the moment, but it’s enough to get your hands dirty as you try your hands at integrating Google+ into mobile apps. The platform contains “web optimized social plugins and Google+ SDK for iOS and Android.”
The SDK is what’s really interesting about the platform since it’s gunning for Facebook’s mobile strategy. Developers will be able to add Google+ as an option for sign-in for their mobile apps and allow users to share content from apps to their Google+ profiles. A part of that is the little discussed Google+ history API that allows users to pick and choose what app content they want to share with the world.
I’ve long been a fan of the idea behind Google+, just never the execution. For every good idea they have, they start to introduce more and more Facebook features. Sure, it’s what people want, but Google+ promised me something different. When I look at it now, it’s nothing more than Facebook minus the hilariously depressing friends from high school complaining about being on their third child at the age of 23.
The new developer features and APIs are probably not going to get rid of the Facebook vibe, but I hope developers can use these new features to their advantage to bring a little of that Google+ magic back. That’s what Google has always been about after all – giving developers the tools to expand their platforms into new, unseen territories. If you want to get started on making Google+ mobile apps, just hit up the documentation here. It has links to all the APIs that you could ever want.