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Rumor: Google+ Photos To Become Separate, Standalone Service


Dropping the plus would be a plus

 ‘Google+ Photos’ is to be made into a standalone product free of any requirement to use Google’s social networking service, a news report claims.

Currently only useable by those with an active Google+ account, the service allows users to upload and back up their images online, make edits, and publish them for viewing by others.

But that could be about to change. Bloomberg, whose sources are said to have ‘knowledge of the matter’, say Google is to drop need for a ‘plus’ ID in the near future, and will decouple, rebrand and reposition the service as a distinct online photo site in its own right.

Sort of like Picasa, which was informally retired last year in favour of Google+ Photos.


Google says that 1.5 billion photos are uploaded to Google+ every week. Take out the need to be on Google+ and this figure will likely skyrocket.

But while this (supposed) autonomous incarnation of Google+ Photos will dispense with the need to be social, the same sources say that some degree of connectivity with it will remain, albeit in a reduced capacity.

The backup and editing features offered on Android and iOS may combine with the viewing, management and basic social options in the Chrome App to create a rounded experience.

chrome photo backup

A semi-standalone app is already available on Chrome OS


Above all, this rumour makes sense because of the precedent being set both inside Google and out.

Web companies have begun ‘conscious decoupling’ of services into separate, standalone products. We’ve seen this with Facebook Messenger and Instagram (remained separate), Microsoft making its ‘services’ available on platforms other than Windows, etc.

Maybe not Flickr, mind. In a reversal of the current trend for conscious uncoupling, Yahoo! is making accounts on its service mandatory for Flickr users. The company, headed up by controversial Marissa Mayer, say the move is designed to ‘streamline’ the login process and improve password recovery. I buy that. It’s not like they have any need to stem a continued spiral into irrelevance or anything…

Google is being traditionally tight-lipped about this specific rumour, cryptically telling Bloomberg that they are ‘always developing new ways for people to snap, share and say cheese.’ Quite what that will mean, remains to be seen.

  • Heimen Stoffels

    Picasaweb isn’t retired, it’s just zombie’d. My dad still uses Picasaweb every day so…

  • fuzzylumpkins

    Good! I love Google+ Photos but rarely use Google+. They need to do the same with Hangouts as well. Their products should be a suite where people can pick and choose what they want and not be forced into accepting products they don’t want. I personally love pretty much every one of their products, but I know a LOT of people dislike Google+ and it’s integration with YouTube, Photos, Hangouts, etc.

  • Del Tree

    This sounds great! Google Photos has become my “quick and easy” photo editor of choice. I upload my photos, the auto-correct works very well on most of them, and on the rest I use SnapSeed to quickly tweak the photos to my liking and then I download the edited album. I store the photos elsewhere and remove them from Google Photos, which is not what Google has in mind, but it works for me.

    Only change that I would like to see is that I can’t find a way to set the export quality of the downloaded album as the photos are more compressed than they were when uploaded.

  • Boothy

    Awesome. Hangouts on Chrome next please? Not for myself, but I know quite a few people who won’t use it because of G+, and they will convert to Hangouts from Skype if G+is dropped.

    • But doesn’t it eliminate the purpose if it doesn’t have Google+? You can’t have Facebook Messenger without Facebook, can you?

      • Boothy

        It just becomes a direct Skype competitor.
        It’s already been de-coupled on Google Apps for Business, and is available to use on Android without a G+ account.
        I wouldn’t know about Facebook, wouldn’t go near that with your bargepole, yet along mine.

      • collinpage

        They removed the Facebook requirement awhile ago so i could see Hangouts going the same route at some point.

        • Did they? What do you sign in with then? (I hate Facebook so I don’t really know what I’m talking about)

          • collinpage

            It just creates some kind of account using your phone number

  • view2share

    Picasa was fine. I see no real advantage to Google + Photo, but I guess for the sake of change, we will all be moved on over to G+Photo. So far, after a change to a + account, the only thing I have noticed is four spam emails coming into my email account, where before nothing would show in my Spam section. Almost said folder, but there is none, for some odd reason Google decided to eliminate folders in email.

  • I hope the service will be improved, because managing albums is currently not a positive experience. Even less when using the mobile app.

    • Alfredo Hernández

      Yeah, no way to organise, change the album cover, etc. It’s rather terrible.

  • fuzzylumpkins

    imo they need to just allow auto upload of photos in Google Drive. if you upload photos to Drive now, and allow ‘Drive photos to be viewed in Photos’, the functionality is great. It allows me to sync photos from my computer to Drive and view/chromecast them in the Photos app. Keep the Photos apps for editing and such, store photos in Drive though.

  • Shark Bait

    Good, it does annoy me that its hidden inside plus. Hangouts get better when pulled out, hopefully photos will do the same. Its a good product, but not perfect yet !

  • Chuck Cortes

    I’m a fan of Google+ but I think this is a great idea. Like someone said below its too hidden inside G+. Separating them makes sense. As for Hangouts, I think thats a bad idea. I don’t know why people keep bitching about G+, I use hangouts just fine without having to go to G+. My G+ account is my gmail which is also my hangouts, I dont see what’s the difference. You use gmail, why you still complaining about G+? And Facebook msg without Facebook, even if its possible, is probably the dumbest thing anyone could come up with because there is a point for it to be part of Facebook. Even Facebook is not dumb enough to give people a separate app that will move people away from Facebook itself.

  • Pedro Rosado

    This is the dumbest thing I ever heard. Google’s been trying to end the segregation on it’s platform, and after google docs, now does this to photos? I have the app on my phone, the app itself is awful, I can view all my albums, but the user end experience is soo bad, that it cannot replace the stock gallery app on android devices.
    Both app and desktop version do not need to be separated from google+, they just need some decent updating.