Google launches social photography app Photovine for iOS, not Android

Jul 15, 2011
Tech

Google (GOOG) has a new social networking service that’s seeping out to the Internet, and it seems like it’s specifically for the iPhone – with no Android integration yet in sight. The service is called Photovine, and right now, it’s only available by invitation to users, which is a strategy indicative of Google’s launch initiatives […]

Google (GOOG) has a new social networking service that’s seeping out to the Internet, and it seems like it’s specifically for the iPhone – with no Android integration yet in sight.

The service is called Photovine, and right now, it’s only available by invitation to users, which is a strategy indicative of Google’s launch initiatives as of late. The tech giant has another service that’s currently invitation-only – Google+ – but with Photovine, things are a little bit different.

You can find the Photovine app in the iTunes App Store right now, but without an invite to the service, the app is currently useless. If you’re interested in requesting access, you can head to Photovine.com (there’s more information there, too), or plug your email address into the app. As seen in a video on the website, Photovine is a lot like another iPhone photo sharing app, Instagram. Users take photos and share them with friends, and can see the stream of photos in their network anytime.

Photovine encourages sharing based on user-generated topics

The difference between the two services is that Instagram allows the sharing of photos among friends, but Photovine encourages users to share photos based on user-created topics. In the video, for example, a woman snaps a shot of a puppy and labels the topic it goes with “Warm and Fuzzy.” The video follows other uses reinterpreting that theme with their own photos – one of a couple in a park, another of a pool-side hairy chested guy.

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The weird thing about Photovine, though, is that Google’s name and branding aren’t on it. In fact, according to a Los Angeles Times story, it takes some digging to find the Google name associated with Photovine. The only mention seems to be located on Photovine’s Privacy page, where it is mentioned that Photovine is owned by a company called Slide, which is itself a part of Google.

And while Photovine’s website mentions the app as being available in the App Store pretty plainly, it makes no mention of Android, Google’s mobile operating system and sworn enemy of Apple’s iOS. It’s hard to say what that might mean for Google and Photovine – is the plan to roll out Android integration later, or is Photovine a Google attempt at competing on iOS with social networking, where apps like Instagram are popular, while neglecting Android because of differences in the user bases and app capabilities?

Unclear why Google is hiding from the spotlight

It’s interesting that Google is mentioned almost nowhere in regards to Photovine, including in the emails sent to users who attempt to sign up for invites. And it seems strange that Google wouldn’t capitalize on an opportunity to set up a proprietary social network on its own platform, which Android could frankly use. Instagram, for example, is growing rapidly on iOS, but isn’t available on Android. Google has an opportunity with Photovine to provide something iOS users can’t have, or to give a better version of the service to Android users.

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Instead, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and Android users are being left out. For the moment, only Google knows exactly why.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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