Glitches mar Google+ iPhone app launch

Google's social network now has a dedicated iPhone app, but the distribution of the wrong version to very early downloaders caused major complaints

The iPhone app for the Google+ social network has been released, but very early downloaders were left fuming after the wrong version was made available.

Google's mobile-centric social network launched on 28 June in beta form and with an Android app in tow. Although iPhone owners could use the mobile web version of Google+ from launch, a dedicated app for the smartphone was promised soon after. The app duly appeared, having passed Apple's approval process, on Tuesday. However, early reviews of the app, including those from influential people such as Robert Scoble, were damning, pointing to freezes, crashes and login issues.

Google was quick to respond, with Google+ mobile product manager Punit Soni saying Apple's App Store had been putting out the wrong version of the app. Those downloading the app should have been getting version 1.0.1.1809, but the App Store had been "serving a previous test version of the App which didn't have the stability and fixes that the latest version had", Soni said.

"It started serving the correct version a little later. If you downloaded within the first one hour 40 mins, you may have downloaded the older test version," Soni explained, adding that those who had the test version should uninstall it and try again.

It is not clear whether Apple was responsible for deploying the wrong version, or whether Google had simply uploaded the wrong binary.

Correct version

Even with the correct version installed, many users were not happy. Those running the beta version of iOS 5 — which is only due for a full release in the autumn — experienced crashes, and the app also does not yet work on the iPad or iPod Touch. Support for these devices will follow soon, Soni promised.

If you downloaded within the first one hour 40 mins, you may have downloaded the older test version.

– Punit Soni, Google

Another frequently expressed complaint was about the inability to share from the iPhone app. Soni pointed out that this feature is also missing from the Android app, and Google is working on it for both platforms.

Apple's approval of the Google+ app in less than a month since its submission stands in stark contrast to earlier app-related timing issues involving the two companies. The lengthiest approval process was that for Google Voice, which took a year and a half, and only reached completion when the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stepped in to investigate why Apple was stalling.

A week ago, Google chief Larry Page said Google+ had amassed 10 million users in just over two weeks after its launch — a period during which it was only intermittently and occasionally possible to get new members on board. Page also said more than a billion items were being shared across the social network every day.

Although registration has since become a little bit easier, the service is still in semi-private testing, and people cannot sign up without being invited by existing users. Those wishing to join also need a Google profile to do so.


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