If you search for an individual or company on a desktop, you’ll see that on the right hand side is the name with various links to social media profiles, images and the likes. Previously, this linked directly to their Google+ page, but that is no longer the case. In fact, even if you google “Google+”, it doesn’t link to the Google+ page of Google+! Still following?
To access Google+ now, you must go through the app directly or access your profile through Gmail.
Google+ was once the hub of Google, linking between different applications including YouTube and your personal email account. But its most popular feature has been its ability to act as a hard drive for people storing large amounts of photographs.
Photographs are steadily increasing in size, particularly on Android phones thanks to a Lollipop software update. This change is effectively Google’s way of saying it doesn’t want Google+ to be used as a photo album. It also indicates that Google is slowly separating Google+ features into various services.
Google Photos initially belonged to Google+, but is now its own app and will replace Google+ for many users. It will use your own storage, rather than acting as a hard drive, so beware with the amount of photos you upload and ensure they are of a lower quality – especially if you’re on a mobile device. Here are the other features to Google Photos:
- Quicker multi-select with a hold and swipe method through the images you want to select
- Easier navigation through photos with a right or left swipe
- Better organisation through improved facial recognition and the new Collections feature
Benefits to Google+
So is Google+ dying? Absolutely not, it is just adapting and changing to become a more suitable platform. Google+ had attempted to be the core of Google, where multiple apps were all in one place that would monopolise social networking. But now it seems to have realised its limitations, and is now able to serve its purpose in a much more well-rounded way.
Google+ is now intended as a way to connect with people over a certain passion or interest. There is also still the useful social networking and linking strategy through Google+ and it continues to rank well in Google when used correctly for Online Reputation Management. This shift in focus for Google+ can only benefit the platform as a whole, as it will inevitably have more space for emerging applications.
All is not lost, and you can still upload your selfies to your Google+ stream!