It’s official: Google is launching a new photo-storing service that will directly compete with both Facebook and Flickr. Most interestingly of all, the new photo service appears to be layered on top of Mountain View’s (struggling) Google+ product. Google announced the new service, to be called Google Photo, at today’s Google I/O conference (which Fast Company is fully live blogging, by the way).
Details on the new service are somewhat sketchy, but it is expected to have unlimited or quasi-unlimited storage, 16 megapixel maximum-image size, and will be fully integrated into Android’s “Photo” app.
Fast Company’s Harry McCracken noted in our live blog, “The single thing that matters most to me for photos is that any service I choose stay around indefinitely. Everpix, which was started to keep your photos safe forever, was scarcely in business for a year.”
The new product, of course, isn’t Google’s first entry into the photo-service sphere. Google+ already offers a robust photo storage system, and Google-owned Picasa boasts a large-but-aging user base. Retooling Google+ around photos makes sense for the company: The social network has not been as successful as initially expected, mobile users increasingly use Apple’s iCloud, Facebook, or proprietary services to archive cloud photos, services like Snapchat are used to share photos, and Yahoo has made a powerful re-entry into the mobile imaging game with their recent Flickr revamp.
There’s no word yet on the future of either Picasa or Google+’s current photo functionality, but we will update this article as needed.