07
Jun
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Last Updated: October 8th, 2012

If you haven't heard, Google+ is getting an events feature. "Party at Ron's house, 9pm on Friday, who's coming?" - that sort of thing. News of G+ Events leaked, surprisingly, through Google Calendar. Someone discovered G+ Events code in GCal - Apparently there will be some integration. Sounds plausible.

The Android app, of course, is going to need to support the fancy new events feature too. The other day in our AP chat, Eric pointed out a hidden section in the G+ App's navigation list. The list appears to end after "Local" but there's actually a blank button underneath Local, and tapping on the blank spot it will trigger a button highlight. "Maybe Events isn't far behind Locals?" he said.

wm_2012-06-06 16.20.49

Yes, maybe... I immediately fired up my APK disintegrator and hunted down that blank space. Check it:

<include android:id="@id/events" layout="@layout/switcher_item" />

Oh yeah. Events code is already shipping in the app. What other Events pieces are in there?

Layout & Images

Capture2Capturewm_Screenshot_2012-06-06-16-30-13

In short: all of them. It's hard to tell without knowing the final feature set, but it looks like they could launch events tomorrow if they wanted. You got all the icons you need and miles and miles of layout code. I'm even confident enough to make a few mockups. The picture on the right is Photoshop, but the end product should look exactly like that. The code for the "switcher" (the navigation list) puts Events in between Circles and Local, add the supplied "nav" icon and some Roboto and you've got a pretty good facsimile. Isn't this fun?

We can do the action bar too:

G events

There's Events' action bar logo, and the action bar layout should be New Event, Refresh, and Overflow (with stuff like Search in it). The first screen (or at least, one of the screens) has a two tab layout with "Upcoming" and "Past" events.

Themes?!

The really crazy stuff pops up when you start digging some more and find stuff relating to "Event Themes." Wait.. what?

Yeah. Event Themes. And this isn't some weird,  tacked-on feature, themes seem like they are going to be a big focus of Events. Consider the layout of the Edit Event screen: the very first items are for theme selection, then the event name, time, location, etc. An events app's primary function should be 'what and where,' yet "themes" is given top billing in the Edit Event screen.  Just what the heck is going on? What is a theme?

The Edit Event screen has an "Event Theme Image," a TextView called "Select Theme Text" (select?), a "Select Theme Button" that brings up a list, and an "Event Theme Progress Bar" that will pop up when needed. And keep in mind, all of this is above the event name, location, date, and attendees.

And check out these excerpts from strings.xml:

<string name="event_change_theme">Change theme</string>
<string name="event_picker_activity_title">Select theme</string>
<string name="event_themes_featured_tab_text">Featured</string>
<string name="event_themes_patterns_tab_text">Patterns</string>
<string name="event_theme_list_empty">No themes available.</string>

So you have to pick your theme, and they're changeable after the fact. Themes come in 2 flavors: Featured and Patterns, and sometimes there might not be any themes available at all. That strongly implies "themes" is not a static list.

...So are themes downloadable? Is that what this means? It really looks like (that means it's wild speculation time), whatever a theme is, it's user generated, and the good ones are curated under the "Featured" tab. I'll be hosting a theory party in the comments.

Other Stuff

Event Photos are pretty interesting. The regular event screen gives you tabs for Details (when, where, who, etc), Activity (which is probably comments and stuff) and Photos. Events have an entire tab dedicated to photos. Does that mean everyone can tag their photos to an event and they will show up there? I don't see any interface to put a photo there. Maybe event names will autocomplete in photo tags, or if Google wants to be really smart, they could auto tag them based on location. I'm just speculating though.

The rest of it looks like pretty standard, yet fully featured, event stuff. You've got attendee lists with avatars, in-line RSVP buttons ("Going" and "Not going", no "Maybe"), comments, notifications, and the ability to invite an entire circle or individual people. Events can be deleted or edited directly from the app, and you'll be able to +1 and check-in to events. It sounds great.

The usual APK hacking disclaimer applies: All code is subject to change until it actually gets released, it might never come out, etc, etc. But it's definitely in there.

Oh, and I found one more little tidbit while I was digging through the G+ APK:

Bonus Secret!

One of these things is not like the others:

<string name="home_screen_profile_label">Profile</string>
<string name="home_screen_huddle_label">Messenger</string>
<string name="home_screen_people_label">Circles</string>
<string name="home_screen_photos_label">Photos</string>
<string name="home_screen_hangout_label">Hangout</string>
<string name="home_screen_games_label">Games</string>
<string name="home_screen_events_label">Events</string>
<string name="home_screen_local_label">Local</string>
<string name="home_stream_label">Stream</string>

Yep. Games. Games will go mobile at some point. I don't have much more for you, the only code is that menu string and, like, 2 notification entries. The plethora of layout code that exists for Events isn't there for Games. So don't expect it for a while.

That's about it for G+. Like I said earlier, Event themes speculation party in the comments. Go!

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://twitter.com/Shaydlife Shay D. Life

    This is why I love android. If you don't know what's going on, it's not too hard to dig a bit to find out.

  • Steve knipe

    There is also a "schemer" app in the play store now, maybe early testing of some of this?

    • Tristan Cunha

      I just started checking out Schemer a couple weeks ago, and haven't really gotten in to it yet. I'd love to see it better integrated in to the rest of Google's services. I think events might be a big one for this though, they'd seem to go hand-in-hand.

    • miso_sori

      Yeah that has been out for almost a month now.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        It's been out for several months, either late December or early January.  I was in the first round of invite-only beta for the service (early December) and the Android app came out about two weeks later.  About a month ago there was an email announcing the app, but it was really just announcing that they had finally released the iPhone app (and trying to remind people about the Android app).

        I like the idea of Schemer, but hardly anybody is using it, and most people who are actively using it, are using it wrong.  Schemer is supposed to be a way to recommend cool stuff to do, usually based on geography.  Most people I've seen are using it like a personal bucket list that they want to brag about.  I'm pretty sure Schemer will bump around for another year or so and then disappear like some of Google's other experiments that failed to gain traction.

  • Nathaniel Mosher

    I wonder if they are just planning to announce/release this at IO so they have some G+ news... I hope not though because I want Events now!

  • Geoff Johnson

    I really wish Google+ would take off like facebook did.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      It's happening, slowly. Don't listen to the negative headlines and jokes that say no one's using Google+. The initial burst of growth resulted in enough users that it reached critical mass (unlike Buzz). The rest is just user adoption, which happens more slowly. Over time, more and more people get on board. There was a time when Facebook wasn't used nearly as much as it is now, too. With the addition of stuff like Games and Events, real things that people use every day, Google+ will grow. Facebook and Google+ serve different needs, so it's even possible for both to coexist. So it's almost inevitable that it will happen.

      • Tristan Cunha

        Actually I think G+ is taking off much faster than just about any other service I've seen online. I started using it in beta (so, a year ago maybe?) and it's gone from being mostly empty, to kind of busy and interesting, to one of my top sources of information and discussion online.

        But think about what it looks like to someone who is either not signed in, or hasn't been active/hasn't set up there circles. They only see public posts, and they haven't had any time to even figure out who to check out. That means they'll see maybe 25% of the activity? And for a lot of newer users (i.e., almost everyone) it'll be less than that. And this is the perspective that most articles are written from, and most reports of statisitcs use, they only see the public data, which is basically nothing.

        At this point it soo easy to find new and interesting people to follow, and so easy to set up circles to share with people you already know, that I can't imagine someone using G+ for more than a couple weeks and still having the impression that there isn't lots of activity. It just takes people time to get over that hurdle, I'm slowly but surely seeing more friends and family that used to only be on FB start popping up on G+ and post more.

        Think about where sites like FB, Twitter, Instagram are now, and the rate of growth they've experienced, and compare that to G+ and how fast it's growing, where will it be when it's been around as long as FB or Twitter?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          Oh, I absolutely agree. The comparative rate of Google+ growth is tremendous. It's still happening slower than people perceive (because some people expect Google+ to reach 800 million users overnight), but compared to other social networks, it's insanely fast.

          I've been considering a post (that probably wouldn't fit here at AP) about how to properly use social networks, because it seems that some people don't understand. For example, I used to think Twitter was useless because, like with Facebook, I limited people I added to people I know. This made my feed extremely boring. Once I started following sites and companies and people, my feed got a lot more interesting.

          On Twitter, I follow Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics, Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content, a few actors like Wil Wheaton and Joel McHale, some sites like The Verge or Lifehacker, but also some of their writers like Whitson Gordon, Gina Trapani, and Nilay Patel, which gives me the site's content, but also stuff they wouldn't normally share on the site. I get a huge variety of a ton of content. It's great.

          Google+ is very similar. It is what you make it. Google+ has been useful to me from the start, largely because I already knew to take five minutes to explore who else was on the network. Rather than spending five months trying to convince my friends to join. In fact, the only thing I haven't done is set up circles to share with people to get them to join. That would be a better way to get my friends to join.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasonconort Jason Conort

      The only thing that Facebook has over Google+ is people. The only way to do away with that is to keep using Google + and keep sending friends/family subtle hints to join and the benefit of it. Keep in mind Facebook was not always the giant it is today, it took people doing the above for it to grow.

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      like eric said, google+ is fairly big. It's just not the biggest. a lot of people make fun of it but realistically FB has a lot of time over G+ so google is not only playing catch up it's having to prove itself in a way FB never really had to do (I guess unless you're talking about FB vs MySpace)

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    The Events Themes is definitely interesting. I'd be tempted to say it would be something along the lines of an event page decoration header or something. Unless I'm missing something, the themes don't seem to change any data. For example, one could imagine how a marathon-themed event would have fields for what movies you're watching, but that doesn't seem to be the approach here. Themes seem to specifically imply visual elements.

    Keeping in mind that this will also be integrated into Google+ on the desktop (and likely Calendar as well), my best guess would be that there will be a full-size Event page on G+ that allows for a large custom header image, and some form of dynamic text that allows event planners to create attention-grabbing headlines and important information. The downside is that if you give users complete control, it could end up looking trashy. Enter themes to make it easy to not look like garbage?

    Pure speculation, of course, but it's my best guess. Either way, I simply can't wait. I've been wanting to use Google+ for events since its inception, and this will make it that much easier. Plus, it could be a huge boon for Google+ growth if people started using Google+ for events knowing they tie in to their calendars.

    • Ron Amadeo

      That's the most plausible thing I've heard. I have a hard time believing it won't be a disaster.

      • http://www.facebook.com/jasonconort Jason Conort

        Just curious, what part of themes is going to be a disaster? Like it will be ugly or will melt down your phone type disaster. I once saw a ugly wallpaper that destroyed my cell phone, and it wasn't even in the same room...the joys of sarcasm.

        • Ron Amadeo

          Remember Myspace? That. I have a hard time believing "skinning" G+ won't look horrible.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            You can't compare myspace to Google+ - I think if themes would come, it'd be as simple as dark or light. Or it could be just the underlying infrastructure that they used, which may always stick to only one theme. Just because the framework is there doesn't mean it'll be used.

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I'm also really curious what the future holds for Themes.  As I first started reading it above, my first impression is that it would be a feature dedicated to companies that want to hold special events (launch parties, promotions, etc.), but it obviously is going to be for "regular" users, too.  My feeling is that people will be able to do minimal skinning, like you can already do with a G+ profile or Facebook's Timeline, but with a couple of other simple options (ie. Change the primary image and banner image, create a single album of pictures, choose a basic color palette).  Since it's a single selector, it suggests that you can create themes on the web interface that can be re-used through the app.  Google has spent some time and money making G+ a really good looking interface with pleasant features and design, I can't imagine they want to let people ruin it with garish CSS tweaks and clashing colors (especially on the phone interface).

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I'm also really curious what the future holds for Themes.  As I first started reading it above, my first impression is that it would be a feature dedicated to companies that want to hold special events (launch parties, promotions, etc.), but it obviously is going to be for "regular" users, too.  My feeling is that people will be able to do minimal skinning, like you can already do with a G+ profile or Facebook's Timeline, but with a couple of other simple options (ie. Change the primary image and banner image, create a single album of pictures, choose a basic color palette).  Since it's a single selector, it suggests that you can create themes on the web interface that can be re-used through the app.  Google has spent some time and money making G+ a really good looking interface with pleasant features and design, I can't imagine they want to let people ruin it with garish CSS tweaks and clashing colors (especially on the phone interface).

    • KRS_Won

      Could it be something as simple as "Birthday" "wedding" "party" or "business" as a theme?

      • Fleker

        That's my initial guess, although there may be visual items as well.

  • LiterofCola

    Fantastic move in the right direction, now please work on a "group" feature!

  • Mathieu

    "I immediately fired up my APK disintegrator and hunted down that blank space."
    What APK disintegrator are you using? apktool?

    • Ron Amadeo

      Yep.

  • Charles Hogge

    Funny how they totally disregard the communities efforts in successfully creating this exact platform.  Check out +Google Shared Calendar Events on Google+ and http://www.sharedcalendarevents.com if you want to see this exact concept in action.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jasonconort Jason Conort

      Don't think it was a deliberate slight, just not the point of the story. Nor does Google tend to give kodos to 3rd party programs. But good plug.

  • http://komorkomania.pl/author/michal-brzezinski Michal Brzezinski

    This is the reason why I love this website.

  • http://profiles.google.com/ssmathison Scott Mathison

    Is this events different from these Events?

    https://developers.google.com/events/ 

  • Knowles2

    All look cool and standard stuff for an event app. 

    I really expect nothing less than photos being tag automatically to the event, there been a few start ups that have tried this, but for this to truly work you need scale and Google has scale. 

    Games is an interesting feature to see they have in developed, it will be interesting to see how Google ties its Google+games, into Android Games and Chrome games, they need to get some unification going with their. 

  • Ray

    Some great things coming to Google+ it would seem. I've been hanging out for an Events feature since the birth of Google+. Great to see it's so close (one would assume) to being released.