It’s been three weeks since Google launched their social networking solution and they have already raked in about 18 million users. If you are among these users and search for an application that takes Google+ out of the web browser and straight on the desktop, GClient could be what you’re looking for.
GClient is free to use for non-commercial purposes and actually offers you the mobile version of the Google service. The consequence of this is that some features, like Hangouts, are trimmed off.
Installing the application should not take too long to complete, if your system is already equipped with .NET Framework 4.0. Actually, most of the process is dedicated to downloading and installing the software framework.
In order to start using GClient you will have to punch in a code from the developer, which is obtained in exchange to your email address and name. Once you have the app unlocked, you can punch in your Google credentials and log into Google+ service.
The interface is nothing fancy, but it is nothing short of functional, as it encompasses almost all the features present in the browser version. If everything seems crammed up in a small interface, the app lets you switch to the browser version with a click of a button (scroll down to choose “Desktop” version).
All the basic functions available in the full service are present in GClient as well. Checking your stream is unavoidable, since the application will open this view each time you pop it out the system tray area. This is a bit of a downer as one would expect to view the screen you left off the last time.
You can easily navigate through the main section of the service and check messages from connections that aren’t in your circles. The same default circles are present in this version, namely Acquaintances, Family, Following and Friends, and you can increase their number at any time.
The “Home” panel gets you access to the four areas governing your Google+ page in the browser: Stream, Photos, Profile and Circles. Checking the messages and comments of one of your connections (if they’re shared with you or publicly) can be done by simply clicking on their name. Also, getting into the conversation takes no more than a click of a button.
Posting a message is an easy task, but has its shortcomings. In our case we found it pretty difficult to navigate through the message as we typed it. The usual shortcuts for skipping entire words to the desired location did not work and we could only move to the beginning of the row or the end of it.
However, in our case the trouble with the application was deeper. At one point we were unable to launch it as it would present us an error message before we even reached the login panel. Our endeavors to make the app work, which included restarting the system, were futile. Reinstalling the application did not help much, either. As such, a full test of the application could not be performed.
Just like in the full version accessible through your browser, you can share your messages with specific circles only, or you can pick an email address to direct the text to a certain recipient.
Even if it may look crammed up, reaching the functions embedded in the interface is an effortless task. If you are not familiar with the mobile view of the service GClient may take some time to adjust to, especially since the frame is bound to the system tray area and does not give you the possibility to place it in a different position on the desktop.
Also, the fact that it changes back to Stream view every time it pops up is not too helpful. This may be particularly frustrating if it happens to click outside the interface while typing a message. We haven’t tested this because the app would not show up, but the result might be that you have to punch in the letters again. The Good
Most of the good stuff present in the desktop version of the service has been pinned in this interface as well. The central areas (Stream, Circles and posting) are well defined and easy to reach.
Stream section shows the links and photos (we do not know how video content is displayed) are shown in GClient’s frame. The Bad
The major drawback in our case was that the product refused to work after playing with it for a while and restarting the system. Reinstalling it failed to bring up the interface and continued to show an error message.
Each time you pop up GClient’s frame it’ll show you the Stream section. We experienced some trouble moving through text when typing the messages. Some functions of the desktop version have been eliminated. The Truth
From our experience with the product GClient
does not seem to be in the final stage of development. It is a good alternative to the browser version of the service but besides the fact that it lacks several features, it also lacks stability.