Google+ is being split apart into Photos and Streams, Hangouts to live on as standalone service


Google Plus banner

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Google has announced some new organizational plans for Google+ and corresponding services. Google+ is being broken into two different services: Photos and Stream. Hangouts messenger will remain its own standalone service. Google+ Vice President of Product Bradley Horowitz is now in charge of the new Photos and Stream products.

Photos is the place where users can currently backup and edit photos in their Google account. Google+ has always had great tools for photos, and now it should be more accessible to people who might not want to use Google+. This actually makes a lot more sense, especially with the news that “Google Photos” is being added to Drive.

Here’s a comment from Google+ head engineer Yonatan Zunger:

A lot of misunderstanding and speculation. :) The internal org was renamed “Photos and Streams,” because Sundar likes org names that match what the teams do. And since our org includes Photos, Google+, Blogger, and News, there you have photos, plus several streams of content.

No big user-facing changes tied to this at all.

Stream is essentially the core Google+ experience, plus News and Blogger. Users won’t notice any differences in their experience with the Google+ Stream. A lot of people are calling all of this the “death of Google+,” but it seems to be more about not forcing Google+ on everyone. You can use Google’s great photo tools and cloud storage without having to use Google+. For those of us who use Google+ it will remain a great social network.

[via Google+]


Joe Fedewa
Ever since I flipped open my first phone I've been obsessed with the devices. I've dabbled in other platforms, but Android is where I feel most at home.

YotaPhone 2 is happening this Spring

Previous article

Your next Android phone might come with Waze pre-installed

Next article

You may also like


  1. As long as the photos integration with the stream is as seamless as it is now, I don’t care.

  2. Thankyou so much Google. First thing I disabled on every new phone… Google Plus followed by Hangouts

    1. haha me too. dont even have FB, let alone Google+. Dont like it, never use it. I do hate that my N6 does not have a native gallery app tho….hopefully this will solve that. Because in order to use Photos, I have to enable Google+. I hate that so much and I find it very, Apple-ish that they force you to go in one direction.

      1. Get quickpic. is better than any native gallery app

        1. I tried that but then tried Piktures. I love that a lot more. I do miss some of the features of QuickPic but found it unreliable when I would take a picture but it would not show up until I ended the app then reentered.

        2. QuickPic can now render panoramas and photospheres. I had decided to keet Google+ (and Photos) enabled on my Nexus 7 just for the ability to view these. Now I’m considering taking it off all my devices.

          Maybe Google can fix it before I do? [smirks and rolls eyes]

    2. I turned off photo upload in the (Google+) Photos app, but found that it repeatedly turned itself back on — doing this across multiple devices. I usually noticed this because my phone was getting hot while out, and the battery running down — because the photos were syncing against my will. Then I began to uncheck the upload functionality in android Account settings — AND HERE TOO IT TURNED ITSELF BACK ON!

      Finally, I disabled Google+. The Photos app disappeared and the problem was solved — mostly. I just had to reset my S5 (some app(?) was causing WiFi to be VERY slow; couldn’t figure out what; a reset fixed it). I disabled Google+, but then after I added a second email address (I think it was), the Play Store began updating the disabled Google+ app. WTH?

      I use dropbox (and OneDrive with OneSync (from the makers of DropSync)) so that I can have full control over my photo uploads.

      I love Google for some of their projects (maps and WebM come to mind), but Apple would be crucified if they allowed sh!t like this to happen. It’s been going on with google for a year or two, and no one seems to notice.

      Hopefully separating these products will help users better control their own photos and the sync.

      1. exactly. it is the most intrusive of all apps. if i turn it off, i want it off forever.

  3. I actually think this is a very good move. For a very long time, I didn’t want to use the Google+ auto backup because I thought that it would automatically post the pics to Google+, which I didn’t want to do. That was, until I realized that you can auto-backup without it posting pics publicly on Google+. Now, making a slight division between the two, should add more clarity for those that don’t post on Google+ and don’t intend to.

    1. that is exactly what I thought would happen. I used to use Picasa but it moved it right over and i’ve hated the integration (or lack of knowledge) of both since

    2. hahaha all upload images is not auto share public, is just private, if you want to share you images you still need to share it frome private to public or just a specefic circel or person.

      1. I know, now, but when Google+ was first introduced, I thought it was always set to auto publish, so I always just turned off auto backup and used different ways to backup pics. Since that time, I realized that it wasn’t. My point was that, when it first came out, it wasn’t quite clear enough for me. Separating out the photos from the social networking part the way they are, I think gives a clearer picture for people that don’t use Google+ or Backup, for whatever reason.

        1. I’m with you. its why I brought up old-ass Picasa. I just have not liked it every since. I just thought everything would go right on there and everyone would be able to see. I dont want people looking at all my duck-face-selfies. screw that!

          1. Nobody wants to see your duck-face selfies anyways. No danger there.

          2. hahaha true dat!

  4. Can we all say, its about damn time

  5. I like Google, but will they ever let auto backup save photos to Drive? The fact that these continuously remain so separate makes no sense to me.

    1. That’s what I’m saying!! All these memes upload into my Google Photos, but they’re not syncing with my computer, so it becomes a hassle. I have to use Dropbox to sync photos to my phone and use Google Photos to sync from my phone to my computer. I would prefer to use Google Photos since I have about 120GB from promotions as opposed to about 20GB in Dropbox.

      1. My G+ photos sync to my phone just fine. I just prefer to have photos saved in Drive for organizational purposes.

        1. My issue is if I’m on my phone and save a photo, it goes to Google Photos, but when I move to my computers, Dropbox is what’s there. If I’m on my computer, I have to put the photo in Dropbox.

          I’m using two applications to quickly access my photos. I’d rather use one. I would use Dropbox auto upload, but I have more space in my Google Drive account.

          So if I want to be lazy, I’d have to upload the photo to Dropbox to be able to view it by time I get on my computer. It’s not that hard for me to open, but I don’t want to. My laptop is already over 3 years old. Chrome be hoggin’ all my memory.

          I would use Drive, but Drive doesn’t sync photos, so I don’t even have it installed. Once Drive starts syncing photos, I’ll migrate my folder structure from Dropbox to Drive and start using that.

          1. Don’t know of this would work, but maybe you could use IFTTT (now just IF) to create a recipe where any photo added to Dropbox also goes to Drive, and vice-versa.

          2. That wouldn’t solve my issue. I would just use Dropbox in that case, but I have like 20GB of space in Dropbox as opposed to about 120GB of space in Google Photos. LoL!!

            Had I had a lot of space in Dropbox, I’d just use that. But my videos be gettin’ large. =.P

            It’s why I stopped auto-uploading to Dropbox. I’ll just patiently wait until Photos becomes one with Drive.

  6. My favorite part about this article was that Hangouts would be left alone lol

  7. What about Locations? Only part of G+ I use

  8. Maybe I am misunderstanding things but he seems to be making it pretty clear that there won’t be any user-facing changes… so how come this article seems to be making it sound like some big schism is about to happen where the services will be separated?

    1. Because that’s what the media does. If there’s no story, make the story.

  9. Am I in the minority here? I found it a lot more jarring when Lollipop got rid of the “Gallery” and replaced it with Photos. It definitely took some getting used to get comfortable with Google NOT uploading my pictures and videos to my G+ stream, but it was a matter of setting it and forgetting it. As for G+ , sure, it’s not my daily driver, but for the Communities and live Hangouts and overall organization it’s more of a tool than a social network. (For me anyway) Not much to be mad at. I think the perception is that Google is forcing things on users. The trick is to turn Google’s powerful functionality into actual working tools to help you not layer over an existing process.

  10. I just can’t understand why folks keep using Facebook. Google plus is superior in every way. That’s not an opinion but a fact.

    1. It’s only superior if you like having conversations with yourself.

      1. Well if what you’re getting at is that more people are on Facebook, I know. That’s the point of my first sentence. However, even considering the difference in user numbers it’s still easier to talk with new people on G+ than it is on Facebook. Facebook closes you off from meeting new people.

        1. G+ has several communities approaching a million users each. G+ has plenty of people, just not the entire world. But given the differences in the quality of communication on each network, I’d say the people that G+ are missing are generally the people I never want to hear from.

      2. Trending right now on G+ is NASA. Trending on Facebook right now is Justin Bieber.

        To each their own.

        1. So your point is something widely popular is trending on Facebook and something boring is on Google+. That’s not really making the case for Google.

          1. Yes, that’s EXACTLY the point. Some of us just prefer substance over gossip. I’m not faulting you for valuing the opposite, but claims of superiority are clearly relative.

  11. I just want my damn pictures to be uploaded into drive automatically.

  12. So basically Picasa and Google Talk and Google admits that Google+ failed.

    1. Google is merely reporting that are creating individual apps for Stream, Photos, and Hangouts. The only ones concluding that equates with failure at the media looking for a story and those who let the media do their thinking for them.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Apps