Though nowhere near official, it seems Google may actually be splitting its impressive Photos service from their sputtering social arm.
Android Police recently got some hands-on time with Google’s new “Photos” app. The report doesn’t divulge all the details we’ve been hearing about — like sharing directly to Facebook or Twitter from within the app — but does offer a look at the app as we might experience it.
The app, like its current iteration, will let users search for specific people, animals, or objects, back up photos automatically, and take care of general photo management. Beyond that, the app gets a revised interface with several “views” to choose from. Users can see their photos sorted by day or month, or a “comfortable view” which tiles photos by day in a staggered grid sort of like Google+ photo albums on the web do now.
Free of any deep linking to Google Plus, Photos seems to keep much of what we already love about it. Auto Awesome has morphed into “Assistant”, and there will be a web interface as well. Editing is as intuitive as we already know it to be (but also slightly tweaked). This app is also said to replace Google’s stock Photos app for Android.
The app interface suggests we’ll have Photos sans Google Plus, and that’s all most have ever wanted. Google has always understood great photography, readily accessible cloud storage, and feature-rich apps. It has never understood social.
Google Plus won’t be useless should Google actually strip Photos from it, but such a move would insist Google is no longer so bullish about Plus. At last year’s I/O, there was no mention of Google Plus on-stage, nor were there any breakout sessions.
At Google I/O later this week, it’s expected we’ll see the official unveiling of this snappy new Photos app — which may not have a home within Google Plus at all.
Google seems to have realized we all need a way to manage and access our photos quickly and easily without being obliged to any single social entity. Let’s just hope Photos comes to iOS as well as Android (some proper desktop apps would be nice, too).
If Google breaks Photos free of social and seeds an app across platforms, it’ll be an instant winner.