We’ve been hearing through the rumor mill and for a while now about Google+ getting the ax in some sort of way. Well, today may just be the start of that road. After Vic Gundotra, the head of the Google+ team, left the company last year things have been sort of up in the air for the new service. What had once been the bastion for new updates, features and constant retools had suddenly grown stale with no obvious incoming updates or exciting new entries for the service. Just a couple of weeks ago we had heard murmurs that Google was going to place its popular Photos app all by its lonesome, apart from Google+ and possibly integrating it with Google Drive instead.
Today marks that day in a way as Google+ Photos are now available within the Google Drive app and the website. On the left side of the website or in the left-hand slide navigation menu you’ll find the Google Photos option, a hint that Google will be dropping the plus moniker and moving to just a Google branding. We’ve seen this emphasis on Google branding with the launch of Google Cast earlier this year, a programming API that works not only with Chromecast, but with other Google Cast enabled devices as well. What will be interesting to see, is whether or not the rebranding of Google Photos also applies to Picasa, the photo app that Google acquired some years ago and has still been running as a separate app and service since.
Right now, only recently taken photos are showing up in the Google Photos section of Google Drive, pointing to this being an entirely new service rather than just a link to the existing Google+ Photos service. Moving these services around could be in response to Amazon and other photo storage services, but there’s really no telling until Google is done working its magic. Google assures that none of the features from the current Google+ Photos service will be lost, which should include things like Auto Awesome and photo editing. Google+ Photos is still available and not yet a separate app, so you can still find all of your photos and Auto Awesomes in there too.