Google’s long-term goals for Google+ and how it ties in with the rest of the company’s software and services may still be up in the air (and Google itself isn’t doing much to prevent such speculation), but as far as the present is concerned, we’ve been expecting a pretty decent UI refresh to come to the Google+ Android app, as featured in a leak that surfaced last month. Today we finally see the updated app start to go public, and feature-wise, it’s a doozy.
First up, Google introduces Google+ Stories and Movies. Stories is designed to compile media and metadata into an easy-to-refer-to travelogue, whereas Movies sounds a bit like HTC’s Zoe, generating highlight reels. These are cross-platform services, and while Android, iOS, and web users alike get Movies as of today, Stories isn’t quite ready for iOS just yet.
But let’s keep focused on Android; what else is new? There’s new support for larger photo libraries, better navigation controls for when you’re browsing libraries, and new manual options for creating animated GIFs. An improved navigation menu is designed to streamline exploration within the app, and sharing tools have been made easier to access. UI changes place more of a focus on content, letting the app menu slide out of place when it’s not needed.
You’ll also be able to get directions to users sharing their location with you, see content display counts on both Android and the web, and access comment and plus controls within albums. Not everyone will get these changes straight away, but look for them to start arriving as of today.