If you want to read up more on the basics of Google+ and its “circles” of influence—ah, you see what I did there?—follow that link to learn more about the network. For me, however, the immediate question was how Google+ might appeal itself to photographers, while crossing my fingers and hoping against hope it wouldn’t have the save decidedly unsettling service agreements as Facebook.
So far, I’ve not been disappointed. While lacking the Facebook “like” pages, that allow you to essentially build up your studio, image, what-have-you, Google+ does have its own worthwhile contributions:
- Circles. Yes, it all comes back to circles. Not only do they allow for quick organization of your photo-related contacts, they essentially allow you to set up a group for your photography information, and to quickly locate those contacts you may wish to check up on, communicate with, etc.
- Picasa! Remember Picasa? Yes, well, it actually has purpose now. Long oppressed by flickr, photobucket, webshots and the like, Google+ has now revitalized Picasa to store its images, for all intents and purposes remodeling it into Google+ Photos. Nice, easy storage system, with largely unlimited album capability, and the potential for videos up to 15 minutes long.
- Lightbox. Keeping in the Picasa vein, when you enter an album, Picasa reconstitutes the images on the page to be more visually pleasing, and clicking on one opens it in lightbox, giving you a nice viewing space—and full details on the photo, too.
- Lack of Facebook licensing woes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Google’s classic slogan “Don’t be evil” works its way into the distinctly mundane terms of service versus Facebook’s “gotcha” politics. Still – take care, because they do reserve the right to modify your images as they please…
- “Scrapbook.” It’s essentially a nice mini-portfolio that opens your main page. You can upload up to 5 images here to go right alongside your profile, to be displayed right under your name. Good for highlighting your work if you want people to link off a certain website…
- No apps! Sure, it’s not photo related, but bloody hell—no more getting bogged down with Farmville and Mafia Wars invitations!
In short, it’s sleek, it’s efficient, and it’s got potential. Check it out, if you grab an invite, and feel free to add me to your circle, if you feel I’m worthy!