Posted in: Android, Mobile software, Online Services, Social Networks

Google updates YouTube and Google+ apps for Android

The Google Maps app isn’t the only one getting a major update today. Google has also released updates for the YouTube and Google+ apps on Android that bring some slick new interface design to both the apps.

Let’s start with the YouTube app, which you’ll notice has a new UI that looks similar to the recently released Google+ apps. The app shows you new videos from your subscribed channels with large thumbnail images spanning the width of the display. But the main feature here is a new sidebar that can be accessed by swiping the screen to the right. Here you’ll see a list of your accounts, subscribed channels and various video categories from YouTube. There is also a new feature that lets you preload your subscribed or Watch Later videos when you are connected over Wi-Fi so you can watch them offline.

Now moving on to the Google+ app, which has transformed into arguably Google’s best looking mobile app so far. Google has taken the changes made in the recent release and refined upon them. You still see large squares tiles for individual posts and you get a slick swaying animation for the post tiles as you quickly flick through them. Gone is the need to swipe horizontally between different categories and you can now select them from a drop down menu at the top. The Google+ app also uses a sidebar with additional options just like the YouTube app, except here you will have to press a button on the top left to access it instead of simply sliding it.

One complaint about this app is that it tends to show large tiles even for text-only posts, which often leaves large blank spaces on your screen. Secondly, performance of this app will depend on your phone’s hardware. With older phones such as the Nexus S, the UI scrolling performance was often stuttery as the phone loaded new content and rendered the UI simultaneously. Hopefully this should improve with the Jelly Bean update.

Overall, these are two very solid updates to both the apps, which would definitely make you want to use them more often, particularly the new Google+ app. You can download both from the links below.



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