With Google I/O 2015 eight days away it’s time we get the rumor bus started, on the track, and up to full speed. For some time now, the general consensus has been that Google+ will be split into different products; namely Hangouts, Photos, and Streams. It looks like that Photos will be the first shoe to drop this year at this year’s annual developer conference. The re-branding of Google+ is something that the Mother-ship could be doing to compete more with social media firms like Facebook or Twitter. Twitter acquired Twitpic (more or less) in 2014, and Facebook swallowed up Instagram in 2012. Instagram has been given relative autonomy within their parent company, and in that time the photo sharing app has seen growth of its user base climb to over 300 million. Splitting up Google+ will not only give the team in Mountain View a chance to alter the Google+ brand; it will allow some of their core apps to be more agile through autonomy. This is a good thing.

The other issue is sharing. Right now Google+ Photos for web only allows you to share on Google+. This resonates with the old cliche:  “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody’s there, does it make a sound?” Google seems to realize this and rumors are that the soon-to-be-independent version of Photos will allow sharing to other outlets like the aforementioned Facebook and Twitter. Right now this something you can do with the mobile app. It makes sense then that this kind of functionality would be it extended to the web. Google doesn’t usually comment on rumors. If this is true, we could see some major shifts this year at I/O.

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