This post is part of a series about getting your Google+ on. And also an excerpt from something I’ve been working on for subscribers and clients. Here’s part one.
The “Something about Mary” song was stuck in my head when I wrote this. And it applies.
Because yes, there’s something about Android you don’t know. For now, I’m going to stick this under my “Wild Theories and Speculation” heading, only because I have no idea how fast this is coming.
Let me back up and explain.
What’s “Google Photos” Got to Do with It?
(Bad grammar, but now I can do a whole song theme. No? Ok never mind.)
In September, I started to write a post for this blog entitled “Google and Dropbox could win the future with free extra photo storage“. My theory is, we go where our visuals are.
Why do those of us who hate Facebook stay on Facebook? Community (family or work), and pictures.
What do all the hottest new social networks have in common? Visuals, mainly pictures.
Why can’t I let go of Flickr, despite a year of not being able to log into my paid account?
My Photos, yo.
So you’re getting the idea. I hated Dropbox for years, but came back to it when I found out that each device I connected and allowed DropBox to backup my photos on got me free extra space for storing more of said photos.
I started thinking about what would make me want to stick with an Android phone instead of crossing over to an iPhone, and at the time, it was better photo privacy. I hated how the Google+ app uploaded my pictures in the background.
(Yeah, I know you can turn that off, and I eventually did.)
The convenience was great but I didn’t like not being able to choose which pictures were going to the cloud for backup, as I often have some incriminating pictures of work colleagues at parties that we all laugh about and delete after our whole clique has seen them.
The idea that one accidental share or server glitch could make any of those pictures public alarmed me.
Then I realized that Dropbox is essentially doing the same thing, just all at once, not as I take pictures.
So now I loooove that Google Photos has ALL my iPad photos, and all the backups of pictures I intend to keep on my phone.
Android, Google Photos and Google Plus
What does this have to do with getting more serious about Google Plus?
Let’s tie all this together.
- improves its whole interface from Picasa/Picnik/I-can’t-decide-what-I-am cluster-you-know-what to what is now Google Photos and starts making it kinda beautiful,
- had already given us free photo storage via Google Drive,
- adds auto-awesome
- phases in the Google Photos app, which does what the Gallery app did, except now it’s with the cloud backup and a few other extra features
- gives several indications that it will be phasing out the Gallery app
- pops in what looks like an irresistible free photo editor for the next update
- replaces Google Talk with Google Hangouts and adds SMS
I Can Haz More Google+ Users?
So what, right?
Except. We go where our pictures are.
From early adopter tech-head to Snapchat-happy-teens, we go where the pictures are, as users of social, and even search - we pick things that are more visually appealing over things that aren’t.
And we tend to stick in environments we may not even like, if we’re happy with the way they handle our pictures.
If the numbers about Android users are true, there could be a heck of a lot more new active people suddenly on Google+ – there to take pictures, but staying because photos are often online-social jumping-off points.
Worldwide there could be a billion activated Android devices soon. (Again, I don’t fully trust those numbers, but if they’re half right, it’s still a lot considering how far behind Apple they were in the phone game when the first Android device debuted.)
Right now, there are thousands upon thousands of Android users who were not unhappy that they had to get a Google account in order to use the phone. The behavior is now conditioned into us, isn’t it?
Comment if you have neither an Amazon account nor an Apple account nor a Google account. I want to know how you exist on the web.
Will it really be a huge step for people who already have Google accounts on their phone to add a Google+ account to have instant backup for every photo on their phone, should you need a Google+ account to use Google Photos?
With Google’s shady counting of account holders, many Android users are probably already counted as Google Plus users. But, this would make them opted-in, active users.
And what do you think is going to happen if they get comments or plus-ones on photo content they share in public albums on Google Plus? Will they use the network less?
Of course, my theory has one serious flaw.
Google Photos may not need any type of Google+ access to use it on your Android phone. Google seriously lacks the understanding of social that social-first companies like Facebook has – by now either they’ve learned not to force features on their users, or re-learned that making us covet the features is how to nab us for life.
The pictures in the cloud have to exist somewhere, but accessing Google Photos may not be the gateway drug to Google+… but Google Hangouts are.
It replaced Talk, on mobile and in Gmail, so it will get the folks who are already entrenched in that app.
And if Google+ doesn’t get the rest of the Android users – mobile and tablet – by using Google Photos as bait, access to a killer app like Google Hangouts may do the trick.
If this was the scheme, and if it does work, it will seem like, overnight, there are millions more Google+ users, and most business people will be scrambling to keep up, wondering how this happened so quickly.
But again, these are wild theories and speculations. I have no way of knowing if this one theory is correct — but this is a series – there are several other big reasons to get active on Google+ today.
Next time, we’ll take a closer look at how Google hangouts is fulfilling the dream of the video phone. But is it better than Skype? And if it isn’t, does it matter?
Flickr image courtesy of JD Hancock