APP WATCH: Google+ for Android

There's every chance you'll have heard about Google+. It's the new social network in town, a competitor to Facebook and right now, invite only, as it's in beta. Or if you prefer, invite only to build up the hype nicely. After all, nothing makes you want to join something more than not being allowed to join. If you've managed to get in or if you are on the waiting list, you'll probably want to know about the Google+ app.

It's for Android smartphones initially, which is hardly surprising, although there is an iOS version in the works. So iPhone owners, don't worry too much right now. The Android app essentially makes the web-based service mobile, with app features and functions ported over to a smaller-screened device. That means you can interact with the people on your network anywhere, with the selling point on Google+ being total control over who you interact with - from all your contacts to small niche groups. So if you upload a photo, you choose who gets to see it via your private album in the 'cloud'.

You categorise people via 'Circles', which are initially Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following, but you can change this to suit your needs. When new people come along, you just add them to a Circle and check their updates (the Stream) via your phone. Obviously you can share your thoughts with individual groups using your handset too.

As we mentioned, you can also upload media – both video and photos can be sent to your private album, with permissions set so only the right people get to see them. Finally, there's something called Huddle. What's that? Well, it's 'super-fast group messaging for everyone in your Circles'. Or group messaging if you like. Either way, it's a good way of speaking to people in your network without actually talking to them.

As we said, you'll need an invite to get an account, but if you sign up for one, you'll probably be authorised soon enough. If you are lucky enough to already be in, go get the app now - it's free.

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