Google+ app just became useless

By | October 7, 2012
It seems that the old Google+ app (the one which displayed text instead of pictures) doesn't work anymore… it reports 'could not find any entries' instead, and then force-updates itself. 🙁 Now it is just about as good as useless on my mobile.

EDIT: The fix (at least for now) was to delete the application data, after which the old layout came back. Thanks +nico kruppe!

If you are looking for old APKs, you can grab them here – the last 'old style' app is version 2.5.0.329322: http://www.iapktop.com/tag/google-apk

63 thoughts on “Google+ app just became useless

  1. Per Siden

    And as for Huddle (or Messenger then, a more anonymous name must be hard to find), +Sophie Wrobel. There are several things I like about it. First of all it is very nicely designed, clean and simple, no nonsense. I love how it works seamlessly like a chat, for example like Google Talk, but without anyone having to be "online", signalling they are available and like sms (text). It is easy for people to join and leave conversations. Best of all worlds.

    What doesn't work very well is that it sometimes (internet issue?) refuses to send, or require that you retry. And sometimes the messages arrive late or not at all. Had it been reliable it would have been the perfect phone companion.

    It is included with the Google+ app, but you have to add the icon your desktop yourself for convenience, it is not added automatically. Huddle feels sadly neglected by the Google+ team, it really deserves better, it is, or could have been, a truly great app, it's what I have been longing for all the time without even knowing it.

    Have anyone even seen a Huddle/Messenger page here on Google+? Does anyone know a someone at Google involved in the development?

    Reply
  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +Brian Titus Stream + Circle-ID are only required if you're looking at a particular circle (as opposed to inbox). BTW: you can open up a file on Mobile, so maybe you don't even need a server. Bookmarked for trying later.

    Reply
  3. Jake Weisz

    I don't care enough to try it. :/ Thankfully, I generally use Google+ mostly on desktop anyways. I just wish mobile was good enough to use on occasion.

    Reply
  4. Brian Titus

    +Sophie Wrobel +Jake Weisz 
    OK, try this; I think it will work. You'll need a place to serve yourself a web page from.

    First, from the desktop, click on one of your circles, and copy down the URL. It should look like this:

    https://plus.google.com/stream/circles/p70c4087e8eb0a90d

    (I think that string on the end is unique to me, but perhaps it's not? Let me know if yours is different)

    Next, make yourself a simple web page with the following code. I named mine "goog.html":

    <html>
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url=http://plus.google.com/stream/circles/p70c4087e8eb0a90d" />
    </head>
    <body>
    Testing
    </body>
    </html>

    Then, make yourself another simple web page with a link to your first doc in it:

    <html>
    <head>
    <title>
    Click me
    </title>
    </head>
    <body>
    <a href="goog.html">Click me</a>
    </body>
    </html>

    Put both documents onto your web server. Now, on your mobile device, browse in chrome to your "click me" doc. Then, request it as a desktop version. Then, click your "clickme" link. Voila!

    It seems to work for me; let me know if you get it to work also.

    Reply
  5. Sophie Wrobel

    I click the 'x' with very fast fingers. :p (Okay, my connection isn't the best, so I have time).

    It has to be 'x'ed after the initial headers are loaded, but before the URL changes to the mobile loop.

    Reply
  6. Brian Titus

    OK, I'm not quite following… how do you stop it from loading?  it's coming up so fast that I can barely hit the "X" before it's done. And, when I do manage to do it, I'm still not getting through to desktop.

    edit: I think I got it!

    Reply
  7. Sophie Wrobel

    +Brian Titus The trick is to load plus.google.com, and stop it from loading when it's halfway loaded. You can then put the browser into desktop mode and then let it load completely – and then you will have tricked Chrome into loading desktop mode. (It sounds easier than it is, trust me!)

    Reply
  8. Brian Titus

    Let me clarify:

    You can browse to plus.google.com on Android Chrome, but it refuses to display the pure desktop verison. It instead gives a mobile browser version, which is (IMHO) slightly better than the app, but for a few flaws: it's much more difficult to browse your circles, and there's no notification icon. So, it's not really usable at the moment.

    edit: what +Sophie Wrobel said 🙂

    Reply
  9. Sophie Wrobel

    +Max Huijgen It is more readable than the app – no visual picture overload. But I find it is not a good substitute:

    1) You only see a few entries on the mobile page, and have to click 'more' to get more entries. No smooth scrolling and infinite reading, like in the app.
    2) Comments only sometimes work. When they don't, then you get an error message and the comment is erased.
    3) Switching streams is a pain. Not just slide right/left, but five clicks.
    4) No notifications. 🙁

    Reply
  10. Sophie Wrobel

    +Max Huijgen performance on a quadcore is decent – not as fast as a desktop, but not very painful either. What is painful is the formatting and usability.

    I find that Chrome is the only browser that renders the red 'square' in G+ in the correct spot (desktop mode), but only if you manage to trick it into opening desktop mode (which isn't exactly easy; you have to stop the page from loading at just the right moment). Then there's the problem of sending comments – most of the time it works, sometimes it just fails for no obvious reason and deletes your work, so you have to type it all again. Chrome also has an issue copying text to the clipboard, which doesn't help either. If not for the red square layout issue, any other browser would have been very pleasant.

    Reply
  11. Max Huijgen

    I wonder how the web interface compares on a latest gen tablet? My Tegra based tablet is struggling, but would a quad core Note 2 or similar new stuff not be better off just using Chrome to use G+?

    Reply
  12. Sophie Wrobel

    +Per Siden What exactly are your expectations on how IM should work? (I mean, describe them by listing out instead of 'what they do'?) Maybe we can get some existing IM operator to make it work (and with a web interface / more reliability).

    Reply
  13. Per Siden

    +Sophie Wrobel, I don't use Messenger with Google+ contacts, but together with friends. The design is just perfect, it works like the perfect cross between SMS, chat and mail. It really is the way I have always wanted IM to work. Except that it is sadly still very unreliable and   lack a web interface. I really have a love-hate relationship to Messenger. 🙁

    +Jake Weisz, the "problem" is, for photography the current design is probably great, we only need an option that makes is usable for people who are more into general exchange of ideas and micro blogging.

    Reply
  14. Sophie Wrobel

    +Per Siden I agree that a lot depends on how you use the app, and why you use it. I don't use messenger (I get more 'sexy talk' conversation invitations there than anything else, and thus gave up), but I primarily read news and comment, and sometimes also post. For that reason, there's no way I'm upgrading unless they fix the usability in those aspects – in particular news reading, as opposed to picture reading.

    The mobile version also does display the last two comments in stream view, but does not put 'last comments first' in individual post view – which I also agree is annoying.

    +Jason Mayes +Paul Allen do you guys have any idea whether Googlers use the G+ mobile app, and why it's going the direction it is? Based on the screenshots chosen for the app, I'd guess that the product management wants the platform to be a multimedia sharing app, as opposed to a idea exchange platform. Of course, this is pure speculation.

    Reply
  15. Per Siden

    Problem with downgrading is everything come in one big package and you get all the old bugs back. Huddle, sorry Messenger, for example was consistently unreliable in older versions. It is still amazingly useless at times but a lot more stable now. No way I'm downgrading, even given the current layout. But I'd love to see a more practical reading mode with more text and somehow optional images.

    One thing that is particulary annoying with Google+ is that new comments are placed last not on top. The web version partly address this flaw by hiding some of the "older" comments, which is also annoyong since which ones get hidden have nothing to do with if I have read them or not. But the app does not and scrolling by hundreds of comments to read a few new ones at the very end is a tedious process. Makes me wonder in anyone at Google is actually using the app themselves?

    Reply
  16. Jake Weisz

    I have version 2.1.1. It does not work, even with data cleared from uninstalling the newer version.

    Can someone email me an APK for 2.4 or 2.5? ocdtrekkie (at) googlymail (gmail)

    Reply
  17. Jake Weisz

    I will try to use Uninstall Updates to get back to my version. The old version of Google+ is in my phone's stock ROM.

    Reply
  18. Brian Titus

    On my Nexus 7, Chrome will only do the G+ mobile view. Even when I request the desktop site, it won't give it to me. I've also tried Opera and Firefox, and I think the G+ website is just too much for them.

    Reply
  19. Max Huijgen

    I just tried to use Chrome on my tablet to make it more into a desktop experience +Brian Titus but Chrome for Android is not exactly behaving like the desktop. 
    It offers me G+ in Spanish and no way can I find an option or setting to change my account back to English!

    Reply
  20. Brian Titus

    What I find so bad about the mobile experience is that it is completely unlike the desktop experience. So there is no ability to move seamlessly between them. Like you can't just grab your phone and continue where you left off; you have to re-orient yourself to the visual assault.

    Reply
  21. Max Huijgen

    I never used the new G+ app on my tablet, but all I get to see are pictures. Never realized how bad the mobile experience was.

    Reply
  22. Per Siden

    What version are you on exactly? Different devices may run different versions.

    Personally I can't seem to use the Google+ app on my phone without a keyboard. Too much of the available screen is used up for, well just keys, and to little remain that show content. But with my other phone, that has a keybord, I do almost all my G+ing now, and hardly ever on the computer. The physical keyboard makes all the difference to me.

    Reply
  23. Mike Elgan

    I used to use an app called Share+, I believe, and it stopped working after Google came out with its new mobile apps. The new mobile apps need smooth scrolling, the ability to search and edit and a few other things. 

    Reply
  24. Sophie Wrobel

    +Jake Weisz you know what is really strange? The old app works on my tablet still, but not on my smartphone. The update seems not to be rolled out according to user account, as one might initially guess.

    Reply
  25. Jake Weisz

    The old version for me stopped working the day I mentioned to +Dave Besbris that I still use an outdated version of the app. (I suspect foul play.)

    I know I am not the only one ticked off at the horrible mobile apps Google+ has been churning out given the number of +1s my comments on the matter always accumulate.

    Would be nice if Google indicated something was coming someday to remedy this.

    Reply
  26. Max Huijgen

    I just installed G+ on an Android tablet and after touching the wrong button, it´s in an eternal loop ´Sending´. Apparently it tries to send an empty post, but there is no way to stop. Any idea how to solve this without a ´kill´, ´cancel´, or esc option?

    Reply
  27. Abe Pectol

    Hm-mm, commenting on mobile doesn't seem to be overly terrible to me. (and I didn't even try changing browser identification or behavior yet).

    Reply
  28. Philena Farley

    Flipboard.com has been my replacement.  I just have to follow up on my notifications later on.  I don't wanna turn email back on. 

    Reply
  29. Sophie Wrobel

    +Abe Pectol sorry, can't update the title because that isn't supported on mobile.

    A proxy isn't necessary – there are enough rooted apps that allow you to throttle down the internet connection for specific applications, and that is sufficient to cause the images to fail (it seems the app doesn't try to reload timeout images).

    Not sure what good a read-only app would be; the browser web UI is suitable for that, as commenting on the mobile web UI is flakey as it stands.

    Reply
  30. Abe Pectol

    Do specify the context or more precise title please 🙂
    (it is unobvious that it's about a particular app, not the whole platform/service)

    I could imagine a proxy that force-fails the loading of images and such content; but that would be rather hard[core] to set up on a phone.
    But in general, indeed, that's the drawback of having non-opensourced software and vendors / service providers doing what they think is best [for the largest target audience, anyway].
    Though, there's at least a read-only API on the g+ service, so a read-only alternative app could theoretically be built with non-tremendous hassle.

    Reply
  31. Brian Titus

    Ugh. I hate the G+ mobile app, especially on my Nexus 7. I would really rather just browse G+ in Chrome, but that is not possible.

    Reply
  32. Sophie Wrobel

    +Jason Miller if it's just the pictures you care about, throttle the internet connection for the G+ app so that the images time out. It's smart enough to load text first as is.

    However the problem for me is more that I can't get a sufficient article preview to know if it is worth expanding the post and reading, and I can't gauge whether something is a long post, short post, an article link, unless I open up the post and then open the text box. That makes it a bigger pain than the web UI.

    +Darrell Rivera not a hardware issue… it's an app usability issue, as +André Fachat indicated. I have the same inconvenience.

    Reply
  33. André Fachat

    When I click on a picture for a post, I only get a cropped picture, and no text and I have really target the small area to slide the text up. So neither the picture nor the text make sense. That really is just sh*t

    And that is even on my tablet where there would be enough space to show an uncropped and scaled image and the scrollable text next to it like on the web.

    Reply
  34. Jason N. Miller

    I wish there was a way to lessen the impact of all the photos and video on loading content in the application. Or, the application should be program to load more at once so that it is not constantly updating while I scroll.

    Reply

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