Google Gets More Social and Throws a Pool Party, But Who’s Invited?
In addition to Google+, Google seems to be working on more social projects to compete against the likes of Twitter and Facebook, and now it’s discovered that a Slide team within Google is working on a photo sharing app and service called Pool Party.
The secretive service, still in beta, isn’t accessible yet without an invite though Google did manage to snag the PoolPartyApp.com domain as well as launch an Android and iOS app in the respective platform’s app stores.
Not a lot of information is yet known about the social Pool Party except that it’s a real-time photo sharing and streaming service that allows you to ‘pool’ your photos together with those images captured by friends to create these pools of albums. Essentially, the service is much closer to the rumored Apple cloud-streaming Friend Stream service than what Steve Jobs had announced with iCloud at WWDC, allowing users to quickly share photos in their circle of friends without having to go through an external site like Flickr or Picasa and without the need of a social network like Facebook. The iOS iCloud service is more like a photo synchronizing service so that users can quickly synchronize their pictures between different devices via the cloud rather than having to plug in their phones and iPads every time they have a new photo on their computer.
The concept of a group-created and group-shared album is great. For instance, at the next CES trip, I can potentially see Xavier, Josh, Adam, myself, and whoever else from the GBM and Notebooks.com team simultaneously upload images together to the same CES Press Event album. That way, instead of seeing Josh’s upload images on his Facebook album, and then later checking Xavier’s Facebook page, everyone’s images will be uploaded and shared in one group-curated space.
It’s still too early to see how Google will position this new Pool Party service in the wake of the newly launched Google+, which itself has an Instant Upload feature that allows users to quickly share captured images on their phones with friends in their circle. The problem with a large organization like Google and others, including Microsoft, is that often times projects are developed parallel in time with each other, and most of the time one group may not know what the other group is doing so there will be some duplication.
As Google is trying to break into the social networking space, it’s important for the company’s products to not only deliver a good user experience, but to also have a clear focus. As such, it will be interesting to see how Google positions Pool Party, Picasa, and Google+ moving forward as to not create consumer confusion.
One party, perhaps, not being invited to Google’s social ‘pool party’ may be Facebook. In the meantime, if you do get an invite, let us know how your experience goes.
Tech enthusiast in Silicon Valley enjoying the possibilities of ubiquitous connectivity, information sharing, and collaboration enabled by mobile broadband. You can contact Chuong on Twitter @chuongvision or search +chuongvision on Google+.