Google Plus Web Apps For Every Mobile Browser

Google Plus Rich Mobile Version Circles Timeline - Symbian^3 Browser Google Plus Rich Mobile Version Home Screen - Symbian^3 Browser

Google Plus, the search giant's latest try at social media, seems to be taking off. I'm not going to try to explain Google Plus here.  If you need an introduction to it a couple of good ones are Google's interactive tutorial and and Paul Boutin's clear description of the basics.  This post is a look at the available options  for using Plus on a mobile device.

The richest Google Plus experience is with the official Android app which requires Android 2.1 or latter. Almost as good is the iOS app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch running iOS 4.0 or latter.

For everyone else there are two mobile Webapps which Google calls "Mobile" and "Basic Mobile".  I'm going to call the "Mobile" version "Rich Mobile" to more clearly distinguish it from the "Basic Mobile" one.  The table below from the Google Plus online help summarizes the features of each version:

Feature Android app (1) iPhone app (2) Mobile Web app (3) Basic Mobile web app (4)
Huddle supported supported
Instant upload supported
Share in the stream supported supported supported supported
Nearby* stream supported supported supported supported
Create circles supported supported supported
Check-ins* supported supported supported
Moderate comments & posts supported supported supported Desktop only
Post & delete photos supported supported
Push notifications supported supported
Posting widget supported
  1. Available for Android phones (2.1+).
  2. Available for iPhone and iPod Touch (iOS 4+).
  3. Access the web app by going to google.com/+ on an Android device (1.5+) or iPhone and iPod Touch (iOS 3+).
  4. Access the web app by going to google.com/+ on a BlackBerry (6.0+), Nokia/Symbian, or Windows Mobile device.

*Note: Location support may vary based on your device.

Google Plus Basic Mobile in Opera Mini 4.3 Google Plus Basic Mobile Showing Link to (Rich) Mobile Version - Opera Mini 4.3

Google's help suggests that the web apps only work on a limited number of smartphone browsers.  That's not true. I Google is being much too modest about the great cross platform support  in the Google Plus Web Apps. I tried Google Plus with a variety of browsers with the following results:

Basic Mobile: It's as basic as the name implies but doesn't require JavaScript and worked well with every mobile browser I tried including Opera Mini 3.1 and latter, Opera Mobile and even the basic Myriad WAP browser on a cheap prepaid feature phone. The images above show this version in Opera Mini 4.3. Note the link to the (Rich) Mobile version at the bottom of the page in the right hand image.

Rich Mobile: Requires JavaScript. Worked flawlessly in most of the WebKit based browsers I tried including the WebOS 1.4.5.1, Symbian^3 and bada 1.0 browsers. It loaded in Opera Mobile and Opera Mini  but there were serious rendering and usability issues with all the Opera versions and even the Firefox and Opera desktop browsers. The images at the top of the page show the rich Mobile version in the Symbian browser on a Nokia N8 running the old (pre Anna) firmaware.

When you visit google.com/+, or the easier to type plus.google.com,  with a mobile browser you should  get redirected to one of the mobile versions. Android, iOS and bada devices get the rich mobile version by default and all the other browsers I tried get the Basic Mobile one. The defaults are mostly reasonable - although Symbian and WebOS users would be better served with the rich Mobile version. Google provides links at the bottom of the Basic Mobile version that let you switch to the rich mobile one (or the desktop version which didn't work very well in any of the mobile browsers I've tried and gave an "unsupported browser" message in the Symbian^3 browser). The rich mobile version doesn't have a link to the basic one but you can easily switch to it using the url: https://m.google.com/app/plus/x/ 

Actually you can force any browser, mobile or desktop  to try to load any version of Google Plus by using the appropriate URLs as follows:
Rich Mobilehttps://m.google.com/app/plus/?force=1
Basic Mobile: https://m.google.com/app/plus/x/
Desktop: https://plus.google.com/?fd=1

However, the only unsupported combination that I found useful was using the Rich Mobile version in the Symbian^3 and WebOS browsers.

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