Bloomberg: Google set to announce standalone photo service at I/O 2015

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According to sources for Bloomberg, Google is set to announce an “an online picture sharing and storage service” separate of Google+. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news, but it’s further confirmation of something we’ve been hearing about since as far back as August of last year.

Google Inc. is set to reveal an online picture sharing and storage service that will no longer be part of the Google+ social network, people familiar with the plans said.

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Google+ Collections is now rolling out, new share button appearing for some users

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Google+ Collections, a feature that has been widely rumored and speculated to be rolling out today, has started appearing on the Google+ web interface for some. Google has yet to officially announce the feature, but a new “Share” button has supposedly started appearing for some users that suggests that they “Use collections to group [their] posts.”  Read more

Google Drive now gives access to your photos as Google+ dismantling begins

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Sundar Pichai recently said in a Forbes interview that Google was going to start focusing on the core parts of Google+ (namely, Hangouts, photos, and the Google+ stream) as being three independent areas of interest. One of the first big steps towards this goal, positioning “Photos” as being its own standalone product accessible across Google services, has finally started happening today: You can now view your Google+ photos under a new “Google Photos” section in Google Drive… Read more

Amid turbulence, Google Plus loses its latest leader – Horowitz again takes over

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TechCrunch:

…confirmed with Google, that David Besbris [above] has left his role as the head of the company’s social and identity product. He has been replaced by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime VP of product for Google+.

Google Plus seems to be in tumult and it sounds like it is being dismantled for its good parts including Photos and Hangouts. Perhaps the feed will turn into a more Twitter-like product. Who knows at this point—we’ll likely get a roadmap at Google I/O in May.

As for new lead Bradley Horowitz, he never really left Google+ through Vic Gundotra’s departure and will probably oversee the split of the units which are said to have already been reduced by half.

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Google acquires Odysee, team behind photo backup and sharing app joins Google+

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An app called Odysee has been acquired by Google, and the “Platform Team” behind it will be joining the Google+ team. The app, while definitely not all too well known, let users automatically back up their photos and videos from their smartphones to the cloud as well as a home computer.

The team will continue to work on “building amazing products” at Google, but it’s not exactly clear yet what the team is going to be doing—or what parts of Odysee may or may not be making it into Google+. Auto-upload of photos to Google+ has been pushed in the company’s official app for quite some time now, so maybe the team is coming on board to flesh out and expand that functionality of the service… Read more

You can now add interactive polls to your Google+ posts

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Most likely a nod to Google’s recent investment in Polar, Google+ members can now create interactive polls for their friends and followers on the company’s social network. Polls are limited to five choices and can be decorated with photos to make them unique and appealing. Topics can be just about anything you can dream up, but we’re expecting to see a lot about food, sports, pop culture and of course technology.

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Google’s head of social reiterates Google+ is not going away, ‘very happy’ with progress

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Re/code has posted an interview with Google’s ‘new’ head of social at the company, David Besbris, after taking over from Vic Gundotra. The interview ranges in scope, but most notably it opens with a direct question about the future of Google+ with many rumors circulating that Google intends to kill off the ‘failure’.

Unsurprisingly, Besbris denies the claims and says that Google made a long-term bet. It has no intentions to drop Google+ from its offerings.

Is Google+ going away anytime soon?

We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it. The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.

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Google continues push for a kid-friendly internet, introduces location and age restrictive features to Google+

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Google recently announced a new audience editing tool for Google+ that lets members of its social network set viewing filters based on age and location. Ideal for businesses with questionable content, this feature helps companies using Mountain View’s social network stay in compliance with foreign laws. In addition to helping companies keep their nose clean, this optional account setting helps Google make a case for a kid-friendly internet.

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European Union tells Google combining user data across services without opt-out is illegal

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Google has come under fire from European Union officials on a number of fronts already. It’s been accused of unfair search results, been criticized for the way it has implemented the controversial ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling and asked to stop describing apps which offer in-app purchases as ‘free.’

Reuters now reports that the EU believes Google is breaking the law in combining user data across unrelated services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps without offering users an opt-out, and the way in which it has consolidated 60 separate privacy policies into one …  Read more