It looks like it’s time for some good old conscious uncoupling at Google. First, Hangouts started to take its first steps without Google+ earlier this week and today, Bloomberg reports that the company is also planning to separate Photos from Google+. That rumor has swirled around for a while and it really wouldn’t come as a major surprise if Google decided that the time to take this step had come now.
Photos is probably the best feature of Google+, which was always pretty image-heavy to begin with and that only increased after Google bought Nik Software two years ago. It uses the company’s massive data centers to automatically optimize your images, stitch together panoramas, make GIFs and built automatic “stories” around your trips . In many ways, Google+ Photos is exactly what a modern web-based photo storage service should look like.
Chances are, Photos will always remain deeply integrated into Google+ — something the Bloomberg post also notes. Given that Google+ isn’t a massive hit (and yes, feel free to tell me how I’m wrong and how much you love it in the comments), features like Photos simply can’t reach the huge audience they deserve.
For the most part, Photos and Hangouts are the only Google+ features that are getting regular updates anyway and it sure feels like those are the services the company is focussing on most. Google+ itself has been lingering in the shadow of these two services and now is as a good a time as ever for them to step out of Google+’s shadow.