Another One Bites the Dust: Google+ Photos Canned


Many of us saw this coming, but now it’s official – Google+ Photos’ days are numbered. According to an official Google+ post (which was an ironic way to announce it), Google confirmed that the struggling photo sharing service that was a part of Google’s dying social media platform will cease in August.

Google+ Photos Canned

What’s Happening, Exactly?

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing. For users, that is, not necessarily for Google, which has repeatedly denied that Google+ is in trouble.

Google+ Photos, the photo sharing service that is currently tied to Google+, will no longer be available to users as of August 1. The Android version of Google+ Photos will be the first to become another ghost in the Google Graveyard forever, followed soon after by the iOS and web apps. Instead, users will be able to use the much better Google Photos service to host their images in the Google cloud.

Essentially, Google is scrapping one image hosting service for another. It doesn’t help that the two services’ names are identical with the exception of the “+” symbol.

Why Is Google Doing This?

The easy answer is that Google+ is in serious trouble, and has been for some time. Obviously Google isn’t keen on releasing hard numbers about the size of the Google+ user base, but it’s painfully obvious that Google+ has been dying a slow, agonizing death for over a year at this point. Seriously, someone should take it around the back of the woodshed and put it out of its misery already.

The “official” answer is that Google Photos – the newer service – is actually far superior to Google+ Photos. It has a much nicer, more intuitive interface, powerful search functionality, and really cool automated location tagging features that work even if your photos don’t have geolocation data.

Overall, it’s a far better, standalone service that isn’t tied to an unpopular social network that’s withering on the vine.

There are a couple of features that some users might miss from Google+ Photos, such as the ability to push images from Google+ Photos to their Chromecast devices, but in time, this functionality will almost certainly make its way to Google Photos.

Didn’t You Say This Was Coming All Along, Larry?

Yep. I really don’t like saying “I told you so,” but this move has been a long time coming. Google+ has struggled to attract users even more than Twitter, and aside from some really niche interest groups (and marketers), not enough people use it in comparsion to all the other social networks out there to make it worthwhile to dedicate time and energy there.

Personally, I think this is a good move for users. Google Photos is a great service, and one that a lot of people already really enjoy using!

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Jason Bauman
Jul 22, 2015

As a member of that "niche market" with ~23k followers, I'd have to say that people taking the shuttering of G+Photos as a sign of the demise of the network rather confusing. You mentioned that they released a new photos app, and it is far superior (particularly on mobile devices) to G+photos. A lot of people avoided using it because they saw it was connected to their G+ profile and so people assumed "photos on social network are shared" even though this wasn't the case.

Splitting the two services was a good move, and it allows the new photo's app to do some creative things (imagine the articles that tech sites would write if the facial recognition tech became part of G+ and not just the photos app) I joined G+ before I got my previous job, and I interact with a lot of people on there on a weekly basis that have nothing to do with marketing or tech writing, or even android. One of the most active communities I'm part of is one devoted entirely to sharing amazing pictures of food and the recipes used to create them.

I can't speak to the numbers, since I don't know them, but my stream is always active and full of interactive content, and it's not just Google employees posting it either. It's not a network for everyone, I get that. But too many people treat it like facebook and then get mad that it doesn't act like facebook. Big blue is like your High School Reunion. Google+ is a pub.

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 22, 2015

A small but active and extremely loyal user base didn't stop Google from canning Google Reader (RIP, sob)

Jason Bauman
Jul 22, 2015

I agree that they're going to do their own thing with the service and that they could theoretically shut down G+ at any moment. I just feel that a lot of the "G+ is dying" posts seem to rely on incomplete information (such as photo's spinning off to a new service) since, as Larry points out, actual usage numbers are hard to obtain.

In my experience, there's nothing that gives me the interaction the platform does, and there are a lot of active users in my (admittedly) small social circle there. This includes everyone from Google engineers to game developers to just people who are enthusiastic at sharing what they love. Could the service be dying overall? maybe. But I don't see it in my corner, and everything trying to look overall is like consulting a horoscope. Most of the interaction (comment on other posts) can't be tracked since G+ doesn't have an official API to look at this.

Elisa Gabbert
Jul 22, 2015

To me the issue is not so much that it's "dying" or serves no purpose, but that Google may decide it's not worth the development resources and that it's bad for their overall brand.

Simon Forgues
Jul 22, 2015

False. Google+ Photos isn't going anywhere:

Dan Shewan
Jul 23, 2015

Simon, it would be more accurate to say that photos on Google+ aren't going anywhere. Both your first and second points refer to core functionality of Google+ as a social network - it wouldn't make much sense for Google to remove the ability to share or +1 photos, or delete photos and albums that have already been uploaded. Google+ is struggling enough as it is without unnecessarily removing this kind of essential functionality.

Your third point:

"The private photo management component of Google+, which includes backup, editing, creations, private album management (album management for shared content is still available on Google+), and sharing to other apps, is being replaced by Google Photos."

...suggests that Google+ Photos - the product - is indeed finished, as official reports have confirmed. There's nothing false being reported here.

Simon Forgues
Jul 23, 2015

Dan, in fact these points are not mine. They are from Anil Sabharwal ( which is an employee of... Google. Oops! Bye now. I return to my (almost) 3000 followers on G+, the not so dead social network. Ciao!

Jul 25, 2015

When is Google finally going to buy Twitter? :-)

Nov 04, 2015

How on earth did you make such a long boring article from this bit of news. Essentially Google is splitting up G+ into it's constituate parts. Your photos exist in both g+ photos and as they are the same thing. Just the g+ part is being turned off and users photos are safe and the don't have to do anything.
This article is scarmongering and based on the fact that you think G+ is in trouble and with no facts to back that up. I hope you get the web traffic you so clearly want!

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