Google Photos' rumored divorce from Google+ could help increase photo sharing

Google is rumored to reorganize its Google+ social networking service, which could potentially result in Google separating the photos feature of Google+ into its own standalone service. The move may help Google increase photo sharing and uploading and compete with services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Flickr.

The move would mean that the photos feature of Google+, which comes with its own suite of filters and image enhancement tools, into a separate product where users won't even need a Google+ account to access.

This would make it easier for users to snap and share their captures.

Google has been separating its bigger services into more bit-sized apps in recent history, including separate Google Drive into a storage directory whereby moving document editing into standalone Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps.

The rumored news, reported by Bloomberg, alleges that "the service, called Google+ Photos, would still work with the social network's users and may be rebranded as part of the move, one of the people said."

In the most recent editions of Android, package its own "Photos" app and the Google+ app alongside the standard Gallery app. Hopefully, the move to separate Google+ Photos into its own app and service would streamline the disparate pre-loaded photos apps on Android.

In addition to those apps, Google had also acquired Snapseed in the past to offer photographers a powerful mobile photo editing tool.

What do you think of the move? Do you use Google+ and Google+ Photos? Let us know.

Source: Bloomberg


Reader comments

Google Photos' rumored divorce from Google+ could help increase photo sharing


More than anything, I want separate tabs (or something) for albums that I created and uploaded photos to manually and albums generated by sharing photos over Hangouts. I probably have 100 contact-specific albums from Hangouts (which aren't even labeled consistently, for fuck's sake), and having to scroll through all of those when I'm trying to find something in one of my regular albums probably doubles the amount of time it takes to find a photo.

There is so much YES with your comments. The folder management is horrid, I cant access a folder in some cases unless I have shared it in the many things wrong but it has such great potential. Maybe Vic agreed that the direction was wrong? Who knows.

Just when I finally LEARNED how to actually organize the ON DEVICE and CLOUD folders.

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True. I like the G+ intergration, but it's such a mess that it creates a folder for each day and a copy for each new share.

Yeah. I understand why there's a folder for each Hangouts contact with whom you've shared photos. That makse sense to me. What I don't understand is why some folders are titled "Hangout between [my name] and [contact's name]" and some are just labeled as the date it was shared, and there seems to be overlap between the two types of folders. It's just such a confusing mess.

The really frustrating thing is that aside from the baffling folder management, it's a great service. The interface is nice, it has plenty of sharing features, and the editing and auto-awesome features are fantastic.

This, too, is my greatest frustration. It seems like drive would be a much more natural place for photos to live. In fact, that's really what I'd like to see.

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All they need to do is unkill Picasa. Problem fixed. Along with many other irritations they introduced with the ill conceived g+ interface.

I forgot about that app. I disabled Google+ on my Nexus 5 and it took Photos with it. Hopefully the rumor is true especially if they remove the Gallery app from future devices as I have zero interest in Google + and would rather not have to sideload an old Gallery app onto my devices in the future..

Great move. A team can update a photo editor without having to update their social app. Trying to make G+ an 'all-in-one' tool with communication, photos, social, location, etc, was a mistake as it made the app complicated, large and confusing. Facebook is taking queues. Instagram is separate and now they are forcing their Messenger app on people.

This hopefully will also help them do what needed to be done when they first touched on it, integrate the photos with Google Drive better. It's a huge letdown, and I eventually gave up on auto-backup and G+ for photos and instead just manually upload to Google Drive with it being linked to Photos in G+.

This is what I wished I had done in the first place. Have everything on Drive, and let it show in G+. I now have it scattered in both places which is not ideal at all. Google just doesn't managed it well at all. I want one place for all my photos that I can upload to automatically, sort into viewable or shareable folders, mass download at the full resolution not a freaking ZIP as it does now with lower DPI photos even though Im storing them as FULL resolution. Man thats so annoying.

As long as auto backup doesn't break, they can do whatever they want and call it whatever they want

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Agreed. The only reason I use Google+ is for photo backup as I haven't found a better solution yet. I'd love this.

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i had to restore my htc one after htc fixed it and my photos back up is borked. for days it was connected to wifi and im still like 160 of 2600 pics. up from 140. i tried moving pics in to folder outside of the dcim and then turning off autoback up on the dumb ones.... still borked. :-(

While you're at it Google, reinstate Latitude as either a separate app or move it back into Maps where it belonged all along. Happy to have Photos as a separate app.

I pretty much use the Photos app on every photo I take that I want to share. It is by far my preferred app for editing. It already feels like it is a stand alone app so actually making the divorce final would just be finishing the job.

I use Google+. I do not use G+ Photos intentionally, I'm aware it's used when I upload a photo to complement a Google+ post. I'm really liking this move of Google separating services from Google+. The less Google+ is forced down on people's throats, the more open people may be to give it a try in the future.

I would like them separated. I want to use the Photos app, but its file organization and its heavy integration with Google+ kinda irk me. I want something along the lines of what Moto did with its Gallery app. Something like that with auto-backup would be nice.

Google + was draining my battery. .it would always be I deleted it and have no more problems with battery drain. And when you backup your photos from Gallery. .everything in the Gallery should backup....not just photos. I think this is a major flaw.

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Great move. Only now there will be even less of a reason to use Google + .

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I hate to say it, but it would be a good thing. Just got back from a trip to Yellowstone Park, and a few hours after I got home (and back on my wifi), Google Photos told me my Story was done. It was BEAUTIFUL!!! No culling through hundreds of photos to skip the blurry ones, bad color, etc. It added maps, identified my locations correctly. I went in and just added 3 comments, removed 1 picture, and THEN POSTED A LINK IN FACEBOOK! Why? Because I wanted people I know to *actually* see it. So few of my friends are on Google +, and fewer still follow it regularly. But posting it on Facebook, I had a dozen likes and comments in 15 minutes. It's an amazing tool, but Google + isn't necessarily the best place to surface it.

btw - here's the story:

Great news... The current folder management is awfull I never know where are my photos and I don't have a clear view of what is public and what is private

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It's far too late to do this. Most people already associate Photos with the G+ auto upload feature. That will never allow Photos to take off with this decoupling.

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I think this was part of the reluctance of people to engage with Google+. They were concerned that photos would just appear on their + page, without control. Part of that was the difference in the page you saw and the page other people saw. I like the app itself. I would like to see it combined with the desktop version of Picasa.

Actually, photos is the only reason g+ is on my phone now. I'll be glad to save 20mb of space for an app I use for one function.

Samsung Moment->HTC EVO->EVO LTE->LG G3

Google made the terrible mistake to enforce google+ to everyone by requiring it for almost anything in google. So freaking annoying.

It's so embarrassing and nonsense that they have slowly started to separate everything from it.

I agree. Next they need to separate from the play store. It's pathetic they require Google+ for me to rate an app I paid for. It's also stupid I have to have Google+ to use the play games cloud service thing.

As a Google+ user who likes Google+ a lot, I still support this decision. I hear enough complaining about it, and I see it as enough of a stumbling block for people who don't want Google+ that it overcomplicates the process. Make it part of your Google account, obviously, as Picasa was, but don't tie it directly to Google+. It can still heavily draw on Google+, as other Google services do, and share to it easily.

As long as the service continues to backup all my photos to a private gallery that is easily accessible from the G+ app and the G+ website, I'll be cool with the change.

I like picasa web albums much better than I like Google Plus Photos. At least there I could see my folders and organize my photos like I can on my computer.

Google Photos is a mess! It's a huge pain to manage folders and the new uploader doesn't give you any options at all. I want the old picasa uploader back so I can at least choose which album to upload my pictures to without having to open the app after they're uploaded and moving them all to an album. Back when it was just picasa I thought the old way was too basic, but now it doesn't seem so bad. I don't know why Google took options out when they should be giving us more options.

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Geez I just started using the photos app as my go to app for pictures...found a way to deal with the horrible folder management I just make my own copy of the ones in the gallery and I'm fine

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Google really ought to go ahead and kill G+...I mean it's already become a red headed step child and Goog is separating out most services from it, as if it now has a catching disease.

As far as photos goes....great separate it too! Honestly sometimes Google services are so confusing and redundant. I mean I have Hangouts and a messaging app, I have a gallery and photos app, QuickOffice and then all the separates. Come on Google your services are becoming a mess! I hope they get this crap cleaned up in Android L!!!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk ATT

The stock messaging app got deprecated no? N5 didn't come with it, OEM are still free to insert their own but it's clear they want to shift people to Hangouts a la iMessage. QuickOffice will probably fall by the wayside as well once more functionality is absorbed by Sheets/Docs. I imagine they bought the app primarily for the dev pool.

The Gallery/Photos mess was the most egregious one with no clear direction, since at the same time Photos was introduced they added a ton of good editing features to Gallery (not to mention Snapseed is still alive). I'm glad they're looking to consolidate here too and I can understand why they make it a slow transition. People will scream bloody murder either way tho...

I use Google Plus more than other social networking sites. If I have something to say I say it there. If I want people who haven't made the jump from Facebook to see it I'll link to the post. I never really understood the reluctance to use Google Plus as the gateway to other Google services. Can someone please explain where that's coming from? It's not like they force you to actively use it in order to use other Google sites and services.

Posted via Android Central App on my Droid Maxx

Well, Google+ new interface I think is a bit clunky, I do use the Google+ back up and think it is great, as well as Snapseed quite reg. I really hope they don't get rid of Google+ because its my go to place to find something good to read. Google Photos backup doesn't work at all on our Galaxy Camera 2 though..

"This would make it easier for users to snap and share their captures." It's not called "easier" for users. It just reaches out to a larger audience among Google users who don't bother completing their account lol.

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This, is wonderful news! I love the Photos app, but I hate that it requires Google+ in order to operate properly. The only thing Google has left to do is remove the Gallery app and replace it with the Photos app.

I hope this occurs. I use Picasa to manage my photo library and want to continue to use it. I'm also quite content that the photos wind up not taking up too much space against my total storage allotment (a lot of the older pics are below the max resolution for free storage). However, the chaos arises when facing the integration with Google+. This is primarily due to the fact that I have yet to find it useful as a social media tool and tend to use Facebook on the occasions that I share photos. Sad to say that Google+ has simply failed as a social media platform because of its lack of adoption (and that it has practically reached meme proportions as a symbol of a failed platform).

Maybe they can then also fix tagging of people.
Right now you can only tag people who have an e-mail, so I can't tag kids, pets, and dead people and so many others who I might not have an e-mail for.
In the Analog world and most other photo managing software I can write whatever I want on a photo for the future to see who was on that photo. But not in the Google Photo world.

I don't use G+ but I love Photos, I really like the filters and photo editing tools. Better than crappy Instagram and other messy apps.

move out photos and hangout totally out of G+. the biggest fear is, I got no clue who is watching my pics on G+ when it syncs as soon as I take a pic of my ass.

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Google+ Photos are a typical weak app from Google. I can only hope they'll do the right thing eventually. No foldering, no category tagging (not referring to face tagging), gawd awful interface, no duplicate removing, mystifying sharing features,... the list goes on. I'm presently looking for a better solution.