Apple iPad gets dedicated Google+ app with Hangouts

Google also updates iPhone app with Events feature

Google this week pushed out a dedicated Google+ app for the Apple iPad.

With the free app, which was designed specifically for the popular tablet computer, users can access and make changes to their Google+ update stream, profile, friends Circles, and account settings. It also lets them make comments, expand and re-share posts, as well as upload photos and videos directly from their iPad.

Before the dedicated iPad app, users had to use the Google+ iPhone app on their tablet. It worked, but it didn't take advantage of the expanded tablet features. They also could use a mobile version of Google+ in Apple's Safari browser but that also was not ideal.

One feature of the app that's getting a lot of attention is the ability to join a Google+ Hangout with a few friends or a group of users. Google also added the Hangout feature to its Google+ app for the iPhone.

"There's nothing like catching up with friends face to face," wrote Bradley Horowitz, a Google vice president, in a blog post. "Now you can start a video chat with up to nine friends anywhere, anytime with Hangouts on iPhone and iPad."

He added that to get started with a Hangout on the iPad or iPhone, users simply tap Hangout on the main menu, add friends and then tap Start.

"We'll ring their phones (if you want), and if someone misses the hangout, they can ring you back with a single tap," wrote Horowitz.

Also included in the Google+ app for the iPhone is a new feature, called Events on Google+. The feature, which was announced late last month at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, is designed to let users set up parties, reunions and other social functions by providing tools for invitations and posting photos during and after the event.

"Post a comment, upload a photo or check out who's going," wrote Horowitz. "Your past event invitations are saved with all the photos and posts shared by your friends, so you can relive the party anytime you want."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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