Android Apps

How to use Google+ with Android [and love it]

July 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka

Commmunication, Google


The launch of Google+ reminds me an awful lot of Google Wave. You search feverishly for a golden ticket (invite) and then go crazy learning all of these new features, hoping that this incredible new communication tool will take-off. Meanwhile, you’re bombarded with invite requests and complaints from friends unable to get into the factory.

Knock on wood, but it doesn’t seem like Google+ will make the same mistakes as Wave, Buzz, or any other social experiment that Google has failed at. After using the system for a few days and earning my wannabe expert cred, I feel good about what + could become. This will not be the Facebook or Twitter killer, but there’s a chance that this could be better than either of the social networking sites.

Here are my thoughts and tips for using Google+ (and just to be clear, I cannot invite anyone because the invite mechanism and workarounds have been shutdown because of excessive demand). This concerns mainly the mobile experience using the Google+ Android app, which requires an invite to use.


The second that you get into Plus, turn off or at least edit notification settings. You know how out-of-hand a Gmail inbox can get if you’ve used Buzz, and things remain the same in Plus.

  1. On the desktop, Click the gear icon in the top-right corner, and then click “Google+ settings”
  2. Uncheck all of the email options.

Check the Phone box directly to the right if you wan to get push SMS notifications on your phone. It’s easier to just let the Android app handle notifications, though you must have Auto-sync for that to happen. From the homescreen, press Menu > Settings > Accounts & sync and check “Auto-sync.” Then tap your Google account and check “Sync Google+ Notifications.”

And if you get sick of being notified every time someone replies on Plus, just mute that shared content. Click on the update, press the “…” button in the top right corner, and select “Mute” to no longer o be notified in Google+ about that conversation.


Remember how much I loved being able to take a photo and automatically upload it to Dropbox? Well, how about being able to automatically upload your photos to Picasa and then share it with your stream? That’s what Instant Upload does.

Instant Upload immediately sends images to a private Picasa folder, so you don’t have to worry about those, um, “intimate portraits” automatically showing up in your stream. However, you can later export photos to your stream on the desktop or phone very easily.

  • On the desktop, click the camera icon in the share field and then press the thumbnails to bring-up a gallery of your images to Plus to a stream.
  • On the phone, press the Camera icon on the top bar and choose “Select photo” to choose images from the gallery.

Here are some other tips.

  • To turn Instant Upload On/Off, open Google+ and press Menu > Settings > and check/uncheck “Instant Upload.”
  • Are you on limited data transfer plans? Tap “Mobile uploads” and check “Photos & videos via Wi-Fi only” so media won’t use up your data allowance.
  • There are plenty of ways to control who sees what. Tap the right arrow below the “Post” button (carefully) and choose which circles or people to see it. It’s a great way to keep Mom from seeing the debauchery from Friday night.
  • Want to tag people in Google+ photos? In the “Add a comment” field, enter + and start typing a letter to see a person’s name pop-up. What’s up +Charles West?
  • There’s no easy way to manually share a recorded video, but the Instant upload sends it to the cloud if users change the settings to “Photos & videos via mobile networks [or Wi-Fi].”

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