Google are Developing a Social Photo Editing App

It seems like Google always have a host of Schrodinger's apps on the go, most of which turned out to be dead when the box finally gets opened, but it's still interesting to examine them while they're in development, especially the ones which have a bit more of a social media leaning.

Google have a poor history with social media. Basically every platform they've ever released under their own name has gone belly up, usually within the first year or two, and many of the social media-esque bells and whistles they've added to more established services like Gmail have been left to gather dust. YouTube is still the best social media enterprise they have going and all they did with that was sign a morbidly obese cheque while the getting was still good.

Their latest venture is an as yet unnamed social photo editing app. If that phrase is unfamiliar/just a confusing mass of buzzwords, allow me to clarify: a social photo editing app allows people to add photos to mutually shared albums, edit them and and arrange them. It's kind of a mixture of Snapchat, Instagram and 'Path', the increasingly popular service which lets you share content in private circles.

Being able to pick out exactly who sees your content is a growing trend in social media, which is kind of ironic given that back in the days of MySpace and Bebo, that's more or less how it worked by default. Mutual photo albums are also pretty hot property right now, something Facebook have already picked up on.

According to reports, Google are planning on applying their impressive image recognition and categorising technology to the concept, as well as their muscular photo uploading tool. If they do throw their weight behind this mystery app (timing suggests that they're planning to announce it proper at I/O next month), they'll be in direct competition with not only Path, but also Apple.

Apple have been working on a similar concept for a while now - an app called Clips - which is actually due to launch in April. Clips is more about being able to edit images and share them across multiple platforms, but it demonstrates that Apple are veering that direction too.

Google's biggest problem with social media platforms in the past has always been a lack of innovation. Even when their past ventures have had USPs, they haven't been distinct or interesting enough to prompt users to migrate over from elsewhere. Basing it around image searching, uploading and recognition is a smart play, a play to one of their biggest strengths.

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