I’m Kind of Digging Google+

When I first heard about Google+ (Google’s new social media site), I thought, “Great, just what I need—-I can barely keep up with my Facebook and Twitter accounts….” but now that I’ve been using it for a week or so…I’m kind of digging it.

One of my favorite features of it, versus Facebook/Twitter, is how it displays photos you post to Google+. It puts them at a decent enough size, that in most cases you don’t really have to click on them to see a larger size. To me, the whole thing just feels a lot more “photo friendly” than the other social media sites, including flickr, and I’ve been posting some photos there I haven’t posted elsewhere (so, not really my portfolio images, but instead images that have a story attached to them. Sometimes it’s the post processing, or something that happened during the shoot, and stuff like that).

The whole copyright issue
Of course, when it comes to posting photos on any social media site, the discussion always turns to copyright issues, and honestly I don’t personally have any problems with Google+’s terms. I don’t think Google is going to steal all my photos and use them for their own evil purposes (in fact, I’ve never read a single story about some big photo-sharing site misappropriating a photographer’s photos, or anything along those lines, so I just don’t sweat it. I know, I know….I’m totally naive—the big corporations are actually secretly out to get…..[wait for it…wait for it]…free photography).

Here’s what I do know: any time lawyers get involved in stuff like this, you’re going to have a lengthy legalese document that makes it sound like Google+ (or Facebook, or Twitter) is going to grab all your rights for now and eternity, when all they’re actually trying to do is keep their client (Google+ in this case) from getting sued.

We have a similarly scary-sounding contract for photographers that write for the magazine I publish—Photoshop User magazine. Are we trying to do a rights-grab for the photographers that write for us? Of course not. That would just make us a lot of lifelong enemies. However, our attorneys fight with us tooth and nail claiming we have to have those things in place to protect us and keep us from getting sued into oblivion, so we begrudgingly require them to sign it. Believe me, I wish we didn’t have to. The folks at Google+ probably feel the same way, and wish they had one short paragraph of terms, but in this super-litigious age, they almost have to have it. Sigh.

Add me to your circle on Google+
If you’ve got a Google+ account and you follow me here on the blog, I invite you to check out my Google+ page (I think this is the link, but one thing I had a hard time figuring out is what the simple direct link to my page actually is).

Where does that leave Facebook?
Will Google+ ever replace Facebook? Of course my gut reaction is “of course not!” but after we all saw how MySpace.com went from the biggest buzz site on the planet to a ghost town almost overnight, I wouldn’t totally bet against Google+ (the direct link to Google+ is plus.google.com and if you already have a gmail or google account, you’re already most of the way there).

      1. Sorry, I hope I didn’t sound like a flamer. I wasn’t trying to. CAKB isn’t on my list of WebAcronyms and the “Cell…” was what popped up when I Googled it. I am drawing a blank on this one and would like to be ready for when my kids drop it on me.

        Thanks Ken.

  1. I signed up for a Google+ account a couple of weeks ago, but I really haven’t had a chance to check it out too much. I agree, Scott, way too many things to keep track of, with Facebook and Twitter, not to mention multiple e-mail accounts, and a family and a day-to-day job. I’ll give it a closer look in time, but I’m not in a rush. Interacting with people face-to-face is so much more involving! 8)


    1. i agree john, i’m thinking about unplugging completely or at least keeping it simple. i already don’t have time. i am on google + but barely have time for FB and Twitter

  2. Between one’s personal website, email, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, 500pix, Linkedin, Myspace, Model Mayhem, Talent House, all the others out there and now Google +, it makes me think that what we really need is a good therapist.

  3. Looks like an enticing site, Scott. Even the photos you do not think make your grade look lmighty fine keepers to me! :)


  4. I missed Google+ this time round, hoping to get it in next time and check it out.

    Re: rights, I agree that they are there such that they can do business and aren’t for any sinsiter rights grab. However the thing that bothers me is that the terms are usually so wide and so generic that whilst that may not be their intention now, it leaves the door open to it in the future. Imagine a business that suddenly starts tanking and selling off assets to survive – they may sell those images they now have the rights to even if they never intended to sell them off in that way.

    The easiest solution would be much tighter definition of what they will and will not have rights to do as part of the terms, but that then makes it more difficult for their business to evolve (even if that means adding new features that benefit its users) if it trangresses the tighter terms.

    There’s no easy answer, but I feel that businesses should work harder to respect the rights of their customers and remove any possible doubt.

      1. Great tip, Rob, especially the part about owning the domain in the URL (and controlling the redirect). Later, if/when Google pulls the plug on + you’d be able to send those clicks back to your own website or whatever the “next big thing” turns out to be.

  5. I love it wish everyone would move over and facebook could die for all I care.

    Regarding the rights google stats in the terms that you keep copyright on everything you post. But as Scott says they need this kind of leagel stuff. If they don’t they have no right to show anything we upload and the site would be kinda empty :)

    Getty images has said that the google terms are ok, when they do that I wont sweat it at all :)

  6. I am not thrilled with the way the Goog handles images. More specifically I hate the way Picasa for the Mac decided to generate albums for me automatically and then try to link them to my Google account. If *I* want my pictures linked to my Google account then *I* will put them there myself, thank-you-very-much Google. While I have a G+ account, I have serious doubts that I will ever put up more than an image or two.

  7. I agree with the whole “not another social media site..” I study interactive media, so they kinda expect me to know ALL of these site.. Blehg :P

    Anyway, I never liked facebook because of the whole friend request thing, you have to follow each other. Great thing about Twitter is it can be both directions, but also one way, same for Google+. Which means I will probably make a google+ account.

    There was an article online with a graph, showing facebook for personal and linkedin for business purposses, and google+ in the middle for both. Can’t find it though…

  8. Scott,
    Yes this is exactly why i’m now starting to enjoy Google+, it makes it really easy to follow any number of photographers (including you of course haha), and every day I get a constant stream of new images at a good size, most with short stories attached to them. I think people expecting ‘facebook but better’ will be disappointed for now, but i’m very impressed now I’ve figured out this ‘following’ functionality.

  9. Hearing all kinds of good things about Google+ but I still can’t get an account. Feeling a little like a kid outside a sweet shop 5 minutes after closing time! Maybe tomorrow…

  10. I am really loving google+ for photography. Right now the vast majority of people in my circles are photographers, most of my friends have not come over yet. At least 5-6 people I have never met start following me every day and seeing my photos many of them from places like New Zealand, China etc. I love the way your photo albums are displayed as a beautiful collage! Very interested to see what happens when it goes public.

  11. G+ is a great alternative to Facebook, and I love that Facebook finally has competition, it’ll just benefit us users. Of course G+ still lacks some features compared to Facebook, but it’s done very well with other additions.

    My favorite addition to my social “life” is the Google Hangout feature, it’s a great way to greet new people, and I’ve had some great discussions with creative minds around the world, which I would never be able to do with Facebook or Twitter.
    10 live webcam support with auto focus on the person speaking, voice support, chat support and even Youtube sharing. Only feature they need to add to the Hangout is Screen sharing, then I could hold Photoshop lectures on G+ ^^

    So I welcome our new Social friend and I’ll look forward to upcoming features they’ll provide, like message system, custom URLs and more business related features. Only negative thing I can say about G+ is they don’t support Companies using Gmail mail hosting with G+, but they are working on it.

    Yours Sincerely

    Kim S. Brockie
    110% Pixel Nerd

      1. Hi, I am a little late to this party, but I have a gmail account and would love to give google + a try. I just came off the Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It conference Scott gave on Friday in Orlando, FL. What a great time, wonderful reinforcement of some basics, then some great teaching on touch up, post production and lighting techniques!! Then, on top of all that but Scott is a great comedian. If you get a chance, check it out!!
        If you can send me an invite, my email is jjsjulia@gmail.com.
        Thanks in advance and best regards, Julia

      1. A Scrubb, You possibly willing to share an invite with me??! Pretty please? I can hit you up via your website? Thanks,

  12. I guess some of you missed @Scott Bourne’s post on google plus. He actually published the real document.
    It states that google has full rights of your image and allowed to SELL your work! That’s a big red flag!
    Why would they need to add that if they are only trying to protect themselves?
    Smething fishy??

  13. What do you think of the “Terms” (of use) of the “Project Noah” Web site, Scott? That little voice in my head says I should be cautious about posting photos on the site, if for no other reason than EXIF/IPTC info is removed from photos posted on the site. Bottom line: Would YOU feel comfortable posting your photos on Project Noah? http://www.projectnoah.org

  14. I’m a big fan of everything Google! One thing I like about the images shown on Google+ is that all of the metadata can be seen. I do not own a real camera but when I get enough money for one I will be looking at the metadata of great photographers like Scott so I can get a clue of the shot they took :). If you do not know how to see the metadata: Click the image to pull up the lightbox -> click the Actions drop down menu -> choose Photo Details.

  15. Twitter seems to be the only one actively seeking to exploit photographs. They have contracted with a paparazzi firm that is looking for celeb photos, mostly. They did use an iPhone photo of a shuttle flight taken from an airliner and published it seemingly everywhere. The lady who took the photo wasn’t a pro photographer, but she also wasn’t asked or compensated in any way, which isn’t nice.

  16. I’ve been trying to get on G+ for a while but haven’t had any luck. If anybody has any invites they would like to share my google account is clspangler90(at)gmail.

  17. The great thing about having a Google+ account is that any pictures you post that are under 2048×2048 don’t count against your Picasa storage space. That’s a pretty big size for free.

  18. I agree with Duncan Fawkes, photographers need to take a pessimistic approach to any TOS or legal agreement concerning their images IF they are at all concerned about future licensing. As someone who used to negotiate corporate contracts, I know that is the attitude attorneys adopt and they negotiate those nasty terms out of agreements… or walk away from the deal.

    Twitter and Flickr have both been caught in arguably unethical situations. The Flickr API puts photogs at further risk. Why shouldn’t the photographer community hold out not only for better TOS terms but also features that better protect their intellectual property? Not to mention make it easier for you to improve your business. Your only leverage is as a large group in a demographic that Google has targeted. Use it to get what you want and need BEFORE you give them what they want.

  19. Trying to sign up for Google+ here in Australia is not working. The friendly message is “Google+ is in limited Field Trial” and we (at least I) don’t have access so far.

    I knew we were far away from the world (geographically), but now far behind digitally too? That sucks.

  20. Scott, there is a the big issue for all social media sites that you ignore: whether your content will be deleted when you close the account.

    This can be a big issue for all sorts of reasons (e.g you sell exclusive rights for an image that is also on a social media site, or a third party tells you to remove one of your images form public display).

    When your content is removed (form, say, your FB page), you would expect that all your content on your page AND all the content linked on other user’s FB pages would be deleted, AND that content would no longer appear in searches.

    This is not necessarily the case, and the big issues last year with FB t&c was that they were trying to *keep that content even if you deleted the account*, and especially the relationship between your social media presence and search.

    The fact that ‘this is not necessarily the case’ may cost you, and as a photographer you need to be aware of it when dealing with social media.

  21. I have been trying to sign up for plus since I heard about it. Keep getting a trial is closed message. If someone could send me an invite, I would really appreciate it.


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