Google+ for Symbian (effectively) just got swipier

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Google has put in a few tweaks to their HTML5 Google+ site, i.e. the portal into the Google social network (there being no proper open APIs on which anyone can build a third party client). You may remember my original piece on getting this site up and running on your Symbian smartphone - well, you can now swipe between panes (e.g. 'Circles' to 'What's hot' etc.) and between photos in a photo gallery. OK, the experience is still a millon miles from Google+ on its native Android, but at least Google+ on Symbian just got a bit more usable...

Firstly, from my original tutorial:

Here's how to get started:

  1. In Web on your modern Symbian smartphone, type in - don't worry, you only have to do this once
  2. You'll be asked to sign into Google (if you're not already) in Web. Do so. Again, this is something you won't have to do every time, as the appropriate cookie will keep you logged in. You'll then be at the front screen of the HTML5 version of Google+, showing the default view, 'Stream'.
  3. Bookmark this by tapping on the star (or bookmark) icon in the Belle browser and then on '+'. Accept the form by tapping on 'More'>'Save' as you'd expect (or, under the Belle FP2 browser, tap on 'Back' and then say 'Yes' to saving it). You're done.

The Google+ HTML5 site on Symbian Web isn't outstandngly fast, it has to be admitted, the amount of javascript means that you have to wait a few seconds on some pages, while everything loads up, plus you have to avoid the temptation to tap on any of the 'furniture' icons at the very top of the main screen, since these parcel you off to other parts of the Google mobile web empire where things aren't as impressive. But... it does all work.

Now, in addition to the screens and functions described in the tutorial, Google has added swipe detection in two of the main views. OK, this sounds a little trivial but in the photo gallery sections in particular, swiping from snap to snap is so much more enjoyable than button tapping.

The main Google+ view in this HTML5 site, you can now swipe left and right to toggle 'Stream' views. Note that there's no animation reflecting the swipe - the page recognises the gesture ad just reloads as needed. (Right) part of a typical Google+ illustrated post, with comments and interaction

One (other) oddity is that, the first time you go into the Google+ HTML5 site, you'll get these two warnings. At least you will with Web's default security settings. Just say 'Allow' and 'Always allow' - in theory, you won't see these again for this site.

Photo galleries are where the new swipe gestures come into their own. Tap on a photo to bring it up and then swipe from side to side as if it were a local photo in the phone's Gallery. Allowing for loading/caching times, the browsing experience can be quite good.