Quo Vadis, Google+?

In the comments to my “Leave that thing alone” post a friend mentioned that there are rumors (link to article on Bloomberg) that Google will separate photo sharing from Google+ “as the company looks to attract more users.”

One cannot help but wonder what that actually translates to. From my limited point of view and my usage of Google+ (mostly sharing photos and photography-related things), photography is the most attractive content on Google+. Looking at the list of most followed profiles reveals a surprising number of photographers who are probably unknown to the outside world, but rank very high on Google+. People know Snoop Dogg (#6) but who the hell is Trey Ratcliff (#7) to anyone who’s not into “social photography” and/or HDR? And who the hell is this Thomas Hawk (#8) compared to Alicia Keys (#10) please? You get the idea.

Google even held a Google+ photographer conference, I think it was two years ago, when the service still was relatively young. Then they bought Nik Software and former G+-head-honcho Vic Gundotra made an announcement that Google would be fully committed to professional photographers. And now they want to separate that from Google+ to attract more users? Is Google, or the rest of the Google+ community, fed up with the photographers? 🙂

Another thing that puzzles me: if you want to use Google’s services you need a Google account – and for a while now, that meant Google+ was automatically added to it. Assuming that Google realized that there’s a number of people who are, erm, not too fond of being forced into Google+ one has to wonder how Google is going to approach this. Rebrand Google+ Photos into something else – but still use Google+ user profiles? I think the users who rejected all the Google+ integration in the past are wary not just of Google+ but what it stands for.

Does anyone really think that Google has no idea about all that? Sounds highly unlikely. Or does it mean they are branching out the most successful part of Google+ … to eventually axe the rest of it? Just a thought. We can only wait and see what will eventually unfold.

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Thoughts? Let me hear them.

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