Thursday, September 29, 2011

What might Google+ mean for your Photos?

I know I wrote earlier, back in July,  about rumours that picasa web might be rebranded as google photo as it is bought into Google+.Then I kind of ignored the Google+ phenomena, but a few day ago I noticed my name, with a plus in front of it, at the top of the black menu bar in Gmail. If you have a gmail account I am sure you will see an secret invite like this has appeared in your account now that Google+ has good live. Clicking on that took be inside the new worlds of Google+. Actually at first look it is a relatively plain looking hybrid of twitter like posts (only longer) and something like flickr or tumblr. Iimage have never seen the appeal in facebook so I will not make any comparisons to it. The three obvious enhancement are Photos (which is actually picasa web, viewed differently) Circles (a way to identify different grouping with your friend, family & colleagues and a very logical way to control your sharing with them) and Hangouts (a kind of private video/chat).

If you already have picasa, your will have a picasa web albums (and a lot of free photo space in the clouds) if you don’t it will be set up one for you. The only thing is it looks a bit different, lighter and some how cleaner in Google+ and now it has a special sub album for your phone photos.
The good news is when you upload from your phone, the photos are not shared with anyone, You have to explicitly choose to share anything. Be warned though sharing is easy.
imageYou can make and share your own Circles so it also acts a bit like groups in flickr. Photographers have found this feature and already created a very bright and active community. To join in the vibe just offer to follow (a special type of circle where you read the public post of others without sending your post to them) a couple of photographers and just watch there posts.
The fact that sharing photos is so easy and their presence does liven up a very plain layout is probably why photographers have take so quickly to Google+ and why they quickly attract so many followers
There are also Hangouts these are small group video/chat conferences (usually about a specific theme, again watch out for some of the photographic hangouts. I haven’t really played with these much yet so no comment.

The main interaction with others in Google+ is view your Stream which is at the simplest level like a long twitter message and can be up to something like a full blog post. Pictures and links are super easy to add in. The whole thing is packaged around your Google Profile.

All of this you have probably already read somewhere, so here is a little extra I think was always design to be there but has been overtaken in the Hype. Google+ was designed with mobile devices in mind (not as an add on). The real sticking power for google+ may very well lie in the Google+ apps. Suddenly all those photos on your phone can be esily & instantly uploaded to your private photo album in the clouds and only shared with whom ever you want if you want. No more cables or card swapping. So forget the social network who-ha, at the very least Google+ is a very slick private smart cameraphone photo album that is free. (ok you must pay for network access but if you use WiFi that can be dirt cheap) and gives you good controls over whom and how your share those photos with others.

This short video probably will not help you find your way in Google+ but it will give a bit of insight into all the jargon above and why it was designed the way it is.

So where are the ads in Google+? I haven’t seen any yet.
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