Google does many things right, like email and search. But what they absolutely do not understand is how to build and maintain a social platform. Google announced that they would no longer be developing Panoramio and would be making a transition into a new, hybrid service called Views. I call it “hybrid” because it was partially a new product, but integrated into Google Maps. This was very controversial for many people who had been on Panoramio years before Google acquired it.
Recently, Google then announced that they would be dissolving Views as we know it entirely and the features would be integrated directly into Google Maps. This may all seem like semantics over product names and facelifts. I assumed all along that the core features of the service would remain the same. I could not have been more wrong.
Views was actually a half decent service. The integration with Google+ was a bit weird but overall it was simple and usable. With the new change, they’ve collapsed the entire service into one single sidebar on Google Maps. Before I had a full page of my images which allowed me to sort them based on various criteria. Now it’s literally just a collapsable sidebar that features a stream of photos – I can no longer sort them by popularity or separate spheres from images.
The new ‘service’ is actually missing MANY of the core features of Views – commenting, sharing, photo titles and captions, etc. Perhaps most importantly, there is currently no way to import existing photos and spheres from other Google products. The list goes on and the service is either incredibly broken, or Google’s intentionally stripped every important feature away.
I love Google and will continue to use many of their services, but I can only sit back and shake my head as I witness their continued failures with Panoramio, Views, and now Google Maps. I have over 600 photos and spheres on Google Maps which have yielded over 1 million views and now I am left wondering what will happen to these contributions I’ve made.