Google’s mysterious Photovine website is live, and it looks like a social photo-sharing service

Google’s mysterious Photovine website is live, and it looks like a social photo-sharing service ...

A small splash page website has gone up at, a domain and trademark owned by Google.

The frontpage says that “Photovine is a fun way to learn more about your friends, meet new people, and share your world like never before.”

It looks like a social photo sharing app. We’re somewhat surprised to see Google building social services under a different brand name to Google+ after launching the social network in late June, but we’re sure there will be heavy integration.

The focus seems to be on “vines” or collections that express a theme in photography, that connect you with other people interested in those themes. It seems to be oriented towards meeting people you don’t know yet but with whom you share interests, rather than sharing your photos with people you already know.

The design of the page is a big departure for Google, and there is no mention of the company anywhere on the website.

How does Photovine work?

In Photovine, vines connect you with people through the ideas and themes expressed in your photos.

A vine is like a constantly growing family of photos connected through a common caption created by you, your friends, and people all over the world.

Some examples of vines could be: “What Weekends Are Made Of”, “Secret Stuffed Animal”, “Party People”, or, “Love of My Life”.

As people add photos to vines, they tell their own stories about the moments, images, and ideas that define our lives in a way that’s social, creative, and fun.

Start a vine by taking a photo and creating a new caption, or add to an existing vine. Other people will see your vine and join in by adding their own photo, showing their own take on the caption.

Our feeling regarding the network’s angle — on meeting new people rather than sharing with existing friends and family — seems to be echoed in the statement that Photovine is “uber-public” and that “if you wouldn’t want your family to see it, you probably shouldn’t post it.” It won’t be possible to make photos private in Photovine.

There’s bound to be some privacy alarmism, but as long as Photovine is upfront about this, there’s always a need for services that simply cater to public broadcasting.

Update: Business Insider points out that the privacy policy page mentions that this is a project of Slide, a company that was acquired by Google last year. Despite Google owning it, Slide has continued to release apps since their acquisition that have little to do with Google’s social strategy, so we’ll have to wait and see about that Google+ integration.

Read next: 5 Reasons You Should Attend Techweek in Chicago