I Just received my invite to Google+ today and already I am extremely impressed at how polished it is. It only took me a few seconds to create my profile, add people to specific circles and create photo albums! If this is the new quality standard for Google beta applications bring it on!
The photo albums is powered by Picasa Web Albums and Google is finally making it a mainstream service. I remember the Picasa application itself was pretty ground breaking but it’s web offering was fairly poor with the limited amount of storage space that was provided. Now the gloves are off – photos are basically unlimited now unless you go over the following limits:
Images uploaded must be 2048 x 2048 pixels or smaller and videos need to be no more than fifteen minutes. If your images and videos are longer, then it will count against your one gig of storage for Picasa.
The best part is if you go over your 1 gig limit due to photos being larger, Google will automatically reduce the photos to the required resolution and you can still store them to the service!
Sharing photos is a snap – a simple drag and drop interface from your desktop to the photo album in question makes it extremely easy. I do hope that they’ll accept a zip file full of photos to make things slightly easier, but for the average user they’ve done a fantastic job of getting photos onto Google+. An extremely nice touch is that it remembers your most frequently used circle for sharing so you’re not broadcasting your childhood photos to your quilting group without having to specify that you want to.
The display of the photos is extremely nice. It looks a bit like the Windows Phone 7 Metro UI however it’s stunning – it’s like looking at a real photo album instead of an artificial grid of photos. Basically it kicks Facebook’s photo albums to the curb and stomps on it for good measure.
So Google+ is off to a good start, but is it enough? Only time will tell who will flock to the new service. Geeks like myself or can the technology driven company make something for the mass consumer?