Next up — Google takes a run at Flickr

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical Google feature checklist: Web-mail? Check. Document editing? Check. Spreadsheets? Check. Calendar? Check. All that’s left (apart from maybe a presentation app like Thumbstacks.com) is a photo-sharing site. Which is kind of strange in a way, since Google’s image search is pretty popular, and storing and organizing photos seems like a bit of a no-brainer for the Googleplex. The company even has Picasa, which is a photo-organizing tool, but one with no online component whatsoever — it does have the integration with Hello.com, a kind of instant messenger thing, but hardly anyone seems to use it.

That’s always seemed a little weird to me, as though Picasa was a three-legged dog. Not that there was anything wrong with it, it just seemed… incomplete somehow. Now it looks as though that missing piece will be coming soon, according to Google Blogoscoped, which spotted a tiny link on the Picasa home page to something called “Picasa Web Albums.” This is so obvious that I have no problem believing it is coming — the ability to take photos you have organized with Picasa and upload them seems like something we should have had a long time ago.

Will it offer all the same kinds of features as Flickr.com or Bubbleshare.com? Will it have tags and communities and Ajax editing and printing and all of that, or will it just be a giant repository like Photobucket.com or Webshots? Google certainly has the storage space for just about anything. Here’s hoping it’s at least a little bit more interesting than Google Spreadsheets. All of the hubbub about Google seems to be driving Mike Arrington of TechCrunch a little mental.

More Google-bashing — this time on Picasa

I don’t want to get into a big Google-bashing rant, after knocking their lame bookmark offering, but Phil Sim of Squash makes a good point in a post today about another Google service: Picasa, the photo-organizing software the company bought way back when. His question — and I think it’s a darn good one: Why is there no online sharing component?

It’s not like certain services haven’t already shown that people really get a charge out of sharing their photos with others, and that this can make a viable business for companies such as, say, Yahoo. So why hasn’t Google, which has warehouses full of servers it could host terabytes worth of photos on with no trouble at all, added an online component to Picasa? One reason could be that Google also owns an instant-messaging/photo-sharing app called Hello, which interfaces with Blogger.com, and it would probably rather people used those tools. But why not have Picasa do it too?

Sometimes the things Google does or doesn’t do make perfect sense. And sometimes they make me wonder what the heck is going on over there in Mountain View at the Googleplex. Get off the Segways, guys, and get with the program.