‘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.
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.