Maybe Google+ is not the Facebook-like, all-encompassing social product Google needed, and maybe a separate Flickr-like photo-storage service is what it could be.
The Internet giant could spin out Google+’s photo service as an independent part from the social network, according to Bloomberg’s sources. The service would allegedly be called Google+ Photos and would still work with the social network despite also being available on its own.
This would be Google+’s latest attempt in finding its way a forming a new user base. Google acquired photo-editor Picnik in 2010, and integrated it into Google+ in 2012, which would likely power Google+ Photo’s editing features.
Just like Facebook, Google+ users can store photos and videos on their accounts and use Google+ to share those with friends, family, and their networks. Google+ Photos would be more akin to Flickr, the Yahoo-owned photo-storage network that also sports social sharing capabilities.
Google+ Photos could also be an attempt to keep up with Facebook-owned Instagram, a photo-focused social network the company acquired in 2012.
“Over here in our darkroom, we’re always developing new ways for people to snap, share and say cheese,” Google said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg, vaguely alluding to this rumor.
Google+, originally launched in the summer of 2011 as Google’s effort to battle social network Facebook, has had a tumultuous ride, experimenting with features, various degrees of integration with other Google products, user engagement challenges, and ultimately losing Vic Gundotra, who was heading the project back in April.
In October, the Google+ team made a huge push in enhancing photo-related features, unveiling 18 new things for its photo-loving users. At the time, Gundotra also said that Google+ had more than 500 million users and that more than 1.5 billion photos were uploaded each week, a far cry from Facebook’s 1 billion users.