Thursday, June 28, 2012

One of the new features of Google+ that may be the most useful is Events. More than just an calendar and invitation service, Events allow Google+ users to very easily pool their event photos, displaying them in chronological order regardless of who took them or when they were uploaded.

The first official Google+ Event  Google‘s Day 1 party here at the Google I/O developer conference provided a testing ground for the popularity of the feature, and by that measure it was a smashing success. Attendees pooled more than 13,000 photos, Google’s Vic Gundotra revealed at today’s keynote.

“One of the fathers at the end of the trip said, ‘Here’s my password, here’s my email, here’s my account’ for this popular photo-sharing site. And he said, ‘Just log in as me and everybody upload your photos.’ Now we’re software executives, and we understand this stuff, and we have to share passwords to collect photos? How broken is it that?”

Gundotra set out to make Google+ solve this problem. Combining Google Calendar, Android and the company’s budding social network, the team at Google created Google+ Events. Anyone on Google+ can create an event, and all the people invited can contribute to a photo pool based around it.

The feature is functionally similar to the Share Shot feature on the Samsung Galaxy S III. Using Share Shot,  Galaxy S III users can share photos among all their phones while on the same Wi-Fi network. Gundotra thinks the reach of such a hardware-based feature isn’t large enough.

“We try to solve a problem at a different scale,” he says. “I love Samsung, and they’re a great hardware partner, but when we solve a problem, we go incredibly broad and solve it for all users.”

Although it’s difficult to see Google+ Events eclipsing its Facebook counterpart, it certainly puts a harsh spotlight on the limitations of Evite, which is still used by many as an event planner.

“I think the comparison is a little unfair,” says Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product for Google Apps. “Evite, even in its most aspirational moments didn’t try to capture what we’re capturing with events. I think their focus is on invite management.