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Google+ iOS app updated with instant photo uploads; Circles interface redesigned in web client

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Google's rolled out several updates to its social network today, both on the iOS platform and on the web.

iPhone 4S Google+
iPhone 4S Google+

Google's rolled out several updates to its social network today, both on the iOS platform and on the web. The big change in the iOS app is the inclusion of instant photo uploads, a feature that Android users have had for some time. Upon launching the updated app, Google+ will ask you if you want to turn on automatic uploads, and whether you want to upload over Wi-Fi and 3G or just Wi-Fi only. Once activated, any picture you snap in the native iOS camera app or in third party apps like Instagram is uploaded to a private folder on Google+; from there, you can choose to share photos through new posts, add to albums, or delete them entirely.

Uploads from our iPhone 4S at full resolution were relatively quick over Wi-Fi or 3G, and they're easily accesible for sharing through the app or once you get back to your computer. If you're not into Photo Stream, it's not a bad way to back things up either — though Google warns that the app needs to be running for instant upload to work. So, if you're not the type to use Google+ on a regular basis, don't count on this app for automatic backup. But when you re-open the app, everything you've shot since your last session gets uploaded. There's a few other smaller changes included in the app, like a new "what's hot" stream that contains popular trending posts and bears some similarities to Twitter's "discovery" page — but instant upload is definitely the main attraction here.

Google also rolled out some changes to the Circles page in on the web: there's new left-hand navigation with options to view each of your circles and create new circles, plus quick links to see who has you in a circle and to search Google+ for new friends. There's also quick links to access your Google address book as well; the interface matches some recent changes that added Circles to the left-hand navigation in Gmail. This hasn't rolled out to every user (we're not seeing it here yet), but Google doesn't mention any delayed rollout, so everyone should see it soon.