Sharing media on Twitter has become a hot topic over the past week, particularly with users of Twitpic, the most popular photo sharing platform for Twitter users after it changed its terms to indicate it would sell user photos to media organisations.
With many users looking to find an alternative photo sharing service, users are forced to search Google for other services or use those that their friends are publishing their photos too. Photobucket and Imageshack are massive photo sharing websites which run their own services (under different names) but neither Yahoo’s Flickr or Google’s Picasa are set up to host and share Twitter content quickly and easily, although they have begun integrating social functions.
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The fact that there isn’t a dedicated Google Twitter media sharing platform is almost incredulous, the company has all the constituent parts to facilitate it, but has made no effort to combine them and offer it as a separate, unified service for Twitter users. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense, below are my reasons why Google should launch its own Twitter sharing platform.
YouTube is the most popular video service in the world, Picasa is amongst the top five most-visited photo sharing websites and Google already runs its own URL shortener called Goo.gl.
Google has a fantastic infrastructure in place to facilitate another upload tool – it uploads photos added to Blogger posts to the Picasa service – so opening up an API and allowing third-party Twitter clients to dial into it would be as easy as flicking a switch for the search giant. Google could utilise one of the thousands of domains it owns, shorten the image link to a small and memorable string which could then be shared in emails, on Facebook and of course Twitter.
Google is phasing out Google Videos and making YouTube it’s only video service. The search giant would not need to adapt the way its service operated, instead publicising the fact that app developers can use the YouTube API to serve as a reliable way to serve videos. YouTube videos already use the youtu.be domain shortener, it would be a case of joining the dots.
Goo.gl also has an existing domain shortener. Nobody really uses it, mostly because the service is hidden away. Nevertheless, it’s there and ready to be used as a small part of a wider social sharing network.
It Can Appeal To A Wider Demographic
Sign up for a Google account, you get a whole suite of applications that come with it. If Google launched a new sharing service, it would be able to move the service away from the Google domain and position it as a service that anyone can use, with or without a Google account. It would also give the designers at Google a chance to work outside the white Google branding, to create a colourful and engaging sharing service.
Google is famed for failing nearly every attempt it has made to be more social. Google Buzz not only launched as a failure, the company was pulled before the FTC for a not adequately protecting user privacy.
The creation of social sharing platform might mean the company is providing tools to operate on rival company’s services, but it would likely operate like that for a limited period. With rumours that Google is to introduce Google Circles, a new social network that is reported to introduce new social elements to existing Google properties, the tool could exist in its own right, serving as a sharing platform on its own service.
Google could allow users to post videos and photos to social networks via Gmail, emailing a specific email address or providing a dedicated widget that would post content to any social network. All of this works with a user’s existing Google account, which they would have if they signed up for any Google service in the past.
Many image sharing platforms run Google Ads alongside media posted to their services. If Google created a dedicated portal specifically for images posted to social networks, the company would have yet another property on which it could provide advertising space. Advertisers would be able to tailor specific campaigns for Twitter users, providing the search giant with another way to greater personalise the advertising experience for its users.
I don’t think that Google would be able to create the next Instagram or PicPlz, but it would mean it could bundle another useful app in its Android operating system.
Many app developers would be able to include references to Google’s platform in their apps using an API but Google would be able to add a shortcut to the sharing options on a user’s Android handset, again working with a future Google social network (should it actually launch it).