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Google Introduces Photovine, Where Pictures on a Theme "Grow" in Public

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On June 7 Google registered a new trademark, “Photovine”, with US patent and trademark office. After much buzz and speculation as to what this means, Google has graciously provided us with another clue.

They put up a website,, with a graphic and the slogan “Plant a photo, watch it grow.” The image looks like an iPhone (rather than an Android device), with a social photo-sharing app up on the screen. As of this morning, the mysterious splash screen offers only two links, one vaguely detailing the privacy policy of the application and the other -- called “support”  -- leading to a similarly sparse section describing how the device works. That section was followed by a couple of frequently asked questions, which have since been removed. Here's what one of them said:

How does Photovine work?

In Photovine, vines connect you with people through the ideas and themes expressed in your photos.

A vine is like a constantly growing family of photos connected through a common caption created by you, your friends, and people all over the world.

Some examples of vines could be: "What Weekends Are Made Of", "Secret Stuffed Animal", "Party People", or, "Love of My Life".

As people add photos to vines, they tell their own stories about the moments, images, and ideas that define our lives in a way that's social, creative, and fun.

Start a vine by taking a photo and creating a new caption, or add to an existing vine. Other people will see your vine and join in by adding their own photo, showing their own take on the caption.
So Photovine seems to be more of an open network to meet new people rather than a site used to share pictures with people you already know.

However, readers may hit a red flag when reading through the support page. “As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn't want your family to see it, you probably shouldn't post it…[The] Photovine community is uber public. Anyone can see your photos, even if they're not following you. Being able to find like-minded strangers and make new friends is part of what makes Photovine so fun and unique.”

In other words, your “Secret Stuffed Animal” won’t be so secret anymore once you add it to the “vine.”

There's much speculation regarding whether Photovine has anything to do with the emergence of Google’s social networking site Google+. So far it seems to be a separate application, yet they'll both have at least one feature in common after July 31, when Google+ will make all of its profiles public. (Private profiles will be deleted at the end of this month.)

We’ll have to see if users will be willing to sacrifice privacy to become a part of Google’s new social networking scene. Considering the frantic scramble for Google + invites, and the hype over Photovine, my guess is they will.

Also see: Meet the HR Investigators Who Can Legally Check Out Your Seven Years on Facebook, Twitter and the Web  and Google+ Fastest Growing Social Media Site Ever
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.