I know what you’re thinking. “Ridiculous! I checked that out a few weeks back, but since none of my friends are on Google+, I went back to Facebook. Wasn’t that just some sort of craze?”
It’s true. Usage dropped off significantly after the first initial rush. And Facebook has matched most of the functionality that made Google+ unique in the first place, but there is a reason why Google will eventually win this battle. They have a key integration that Facebook can’t touch – Picasa.
I love Google’s Picasa. Here’s why: I can edit, tag, annotate, and organize my photos offline. You can’t do that on Facebook or on Flickr.
With the stand-alone Picasa application that installs on my computer, I do not have to be connected to the internet to create an album. This is crucial when I’m, for example, on vacation and don’t have a regular internet connection. No one wants to spend their scarce holiday hours locked away in a coffee shop, fighting with Facebook’s photo uploader, wasting precious daylight tagging and commenting. With Picasa, I can do it all “back at camp” in the evenings and then upload the whole album, tags, comments and all, when I get to a wifi hotspot.
Because of this offline capability, I use Picasa all the time, even when I’m not on holiday. There is no (and never will be) an easy way to share my Picasa albums on Facebook, so I would love to have all my friends leave the book of faces behind and come over to the Goog-side. I want them to have their account so they comment, +/like, and share my photos, just as they would if I had uploaded all my images to Facebook. That way, I get all the benefits of the social sharing, but I can keep using the offline, stand-alone Picasa app to manage my photos.
I’m not saying that Picasa is the best photo manager out there – far from it. But its integration with Google+ will be the killer feature that encourages more users to share their photos on Google+ rather than on Facebook. Status updates with photos are 120% more likely to get interaction than text only posts.
The more photos I post, the more content there will be, the more of my friends will come over to browse.
Wake up Facebook and smell the photo management app! It will be the key to future social site adoption!