Google+ is getting a big update for its photos experience, which is rolling out to users now. Initial impressions show a work flow that makes it easier to tweak pictures quickly and even automatically, without requiring that you learn a huge amount about Photoshop or other editing software.
It’s something that’s designed to be mostly a non-destructive, light-touch product by default, just tweaking things like vignetting, skin smoothing and color balance to make elements pop. If you do a lot of volume image editing, bringing in lots of photos and essentially running the same few tweaks on each, this could be a simple way to replace that with something better, especially since Google+ allows for full resolution uploads to its cloud-based image locker service.
I’m so far pretty impressed with the Google+ image tweaking experience, particularly the Motion feature that stitches together images taken in quick succession to make GIFs. If you’ve ever dug into creating your own shareable GIFs, you probably know that it’s not as straightforward as it appears to be. Motion takes the hassle out of that, deliverying on a very specific need that could help fuel the next generation of BuzzFeed writers and Redditors.
For Google, bringing an improved photos experience to Google+ is a way for it to compete with other social networks like Facebook and their media-focused add-ons like Instagram. It’s also going to be trouble for startups like Shoebox that are also looking into cloud photo organization and management. Will it help the social network from Google become more social? We’ll see.