Monday, August 15, 2011

Delving under the covers of #GooglePlus using Boxcar and @Zwapp

Today I have been experimenting with GooglePlus (again). I have the Google Plus for iOS app installed on my iPhone. I had previously configured  BoxCar to use a notification from Gmail to handle GooglePlus Notifications but rather than load the mail app I wanted to change BoxCar to load Google Plus.

First let's recap what I had configured using BoxCar. This is somewhat redundant now that GooglePlus has a native iPhone App that can receive push notifications but somebody may be interested in using the boxcar method.

The first step I went through was to set up a filter/rule in GMail. Go to Settings... Mail Settings.

I created a filter that had the following settings: 
Has the words= view the post

Next step:
Mark as Read= Yes
Apply the label= GooglePlus shares (a label I had setup)
Forward it to= {unique email address} (I had setup this address with boxcar for this email account.

Then in BoxCar on the iPhone I setup my gmail account that would be forwarding the emails. In the Advanced Settings section for the Gmail account I chose the Opens: section and chose Custom. This prompts for a URL. 

The trick was now to find the URL. To do that I went to I downloaded their scanner and ran it against my iTunes configuration. This found the GooglePlus app alongside a host of other installed apps. After running the One Million I had a list of Schemes and Apps.
I searched for Google Plus. The scheme name for GooglePlus is "mgc.

Armed with this information I went back to boxcar and entered mgc://  as the custom URL. It worked!!!

Now when I get a notification in from GooglePlus via gmail in to BoxCar when I click on the open icon in Boxcar it now launches the GooglePlus native app.

The next step will be to see if it is possible to pass a parameter that will cause GooglePlus to open a particular part of the application. e.g. the streams. BoxCar has the ability to pass parameters. The challenge is finding out if the app will receive and handle parameters. 

Are there any developers out there that have any insights on the workings of the GooglePlus iOS Apps?

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