1. The great photo and video sharing service that’s part of Google+ is unaffected. You can continue to post photos and videos, and your followers will be able to comment and +1 as before. No change.
2. All of the photos, videos, and albums you have already shared on Google+, including their posts, comments, and +1s are also unaffected. An easy way to find these is to visit the Photos tab of your Profile page.
3. The private photo management component of Google+, which includes backup, editing, creations, private album management (album management for shared content is still available on Google+), and sharing to other apps, is being replaced by Google Photos.
I sincerely appreciate for many of you #3 is still a hard pill to swallow. And I promise we don’t take decisions like this one lightly. The reality is that maintaining both Google+ Photos (the private photo management component of Google+) and Google Photos poses several challenges. Most notably, it is confusing to users why we have two offerings that virtually do the same thing, and it means our team needs to divide its focus rather than working on building a single, great user experience.
We are working very hard to bring all the best features of Google+ Photos to Google Photos, and this focus will allow us to deliver even more features at a much faster pace.
It’s been a little more than a quarter since I took on leadership of a newly formed team, which we’ve christened SPS: Streams, Photos, and Sharing.
In that short time, I’ve had some time to reflect on the products we’ve built over the last few years, and also the opportunity to oversee the launch of our new Google Photos product. I’ve concluded that it’s time for a “pivot”... or more precisely time to talk more openly about a pivot that’s been underway for some time (and in fact is reflected in the name of the new team). We're going to continue focusing Google+ on helping users connect around the interest they love, and retire it as the mechanism by which people share and engage within other Google products.
Four years ago when we conceived of the “Google+ Project”, we made it clear that our goals were always two-fold: Google+ aspired to be both a “platform layer that unified Google’s sharing models”, and a product / stream / app in its own right.
This was a well-intentioned goal, but as realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing. For instance, and perhaps most controversially, integration with YouTube implied that leaving a comment on YouTube (something users had obviously been doing successfully for years) suddenly and unexpectedly required “joining Google+.”
We decided it’s time to fix this, not only in YouTube, but across a user’s entire experience at Google. We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.
Some of the consequences of this shift in thinking have already been deployed. Others we’re rolling out as fast as possible (e.g. the changes to YouTube we referenced today). And many more will roll out over the rest of the year.
What does this mean for Google+ the product? Relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections - https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).
It’s been incredibly gratifying to see how this strategy has played out as realized in the recent Google Photos launch, a product which in many ways embodies and telegraphs the changes discussed above. Google Photos not only doesn’t require a Google+ account, but as much of the functionality as possible doesn’t even require an account at all. It was important to me that when we launched Google Photos, we stressed the product implements sharing by any means a user prefers… without compromise or agenda. This is the right thing for users and the feedback and usage has been extremely validating.
I’m excited to share this strategy with the world, excited about what it means for Google+, and most of all for all of Google’s users.
Tracy Hackshaw is an alumus of the DiploFoundation's Internet Governance Capacity Building Programme in 2008 and an ICANN Fellowship Alumnus from the Sydney and Seoul Meetings in 2009 and the Cartagena Meeting in 2010. Tracy was an Internet Society (ISOC) Ambassador to IGF 2009 in Sharm-el Sheikh and returned as an ISOC Ambassador for IGF 2010 in Vilnius and for IGF 2012 in Baku. He also participated in IGF 2011 as a DiploFoundation Emerging Leader for the Digital World as part of Diplo's Capacity Development Programme in ICT Policy and Internet Governance for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. He is now a member of the DiploFoundation's Research & Teaching Faculty.
He is a national of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago and has been educated at the 1st degree level in Sociology & Psychology via the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) and at a graduate level in International Management via the University of London (Royal Holloway).
Professionally, Tracy is the Deputy National Chief Information Officer, in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago (GoRTT).
As Dy National Chief Information Officer, Tracy is charged with the mandate of setting infrastructure and technology directions and standards, as well as driving associated programmes and projects with the objective of ensuring that the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GoRTT) has a world-class ICT infrastructure, in support of the goals of the National ICT Agenda as outlined in smarTT.
He is a member of a team providing ICT thought leadership to the GoRTT, in several areas falling under the rubric of Internet Policy and Governance including the flagship and award-winning ttconnect Multi-Channel initiative - http://ttconnect.gov.tt.
Tracy has been a member of the Internet Society (http://internetsociety.org) since 2002 and currently holds the position of Vice Chair of the recently established Internet Society Trinidad & Tobago Chapter (http://www.isoc.tt).
In addition, Tracy is involved, in a technical advisory capacity, on the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago's representation to the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) since 2010 and was elected as GAC Vice-Chair at the Toronto meeting in October 2012.
- Ministry of Science and TechnologyDy National Chief Information Officer, present
- National ICT Company Ltd. (iGovTT)Chief Solution Architect
- AVM Television (Channel Four)
- Ansa McAl Psychological Research Centre, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the West Indies (St. Augustine)
- Ministry of Community Development, Culture & Gender Affairs
- South Trinidad Chamber of Industry & Commerce
- ILLUMINAT (Trinidad & Tobago) Ltd.
- Infotech Caribbean
- Ministry of Science, Technology & Tertiary Education
- Ministry of Public Administration