[Opinion] Google finally wises up by no longer forcing Google+

I was always told I couldn't eat dessert until I finished my dinner. They'd say: "It's good for you!" Google was just doing what was best for us, right?

Lost, anyone? The plan was simple... Step one: Make new social media platform and force integration with beloved services. Step two: ??? Step three: Profit! Light up the torches because that's a recipe for an angry (albeit digital) mob. YouTubers rioting in the comments, spam running rampant, and... well, you know the rest. The issue wasn't how good Google+ was; we just didn't like it forced on us. Why didn't they back off right then? It's like a bad poker play: just go all-in. Oops!

Now they've looked back on their mistakes and are going to make it all right. This opens the door for some pretty amazing things in the future. What will they do with their newfound realizations. Let's take a look at each of Google's social tools individually!

Google+ - Soon to be Completely Optional

Bradley Horowitz, VP of Streams, Photos and Sharing has officially spoke out regarding Google's plans for the future of Google+.

When Google+ launched 4 years ago, we heard VPs of product discuss how the then fresh social network would not only be that, but a platform which would integrate into many of Google's services. Over the following years, it would not be possible to use certain products or features without a Google+ account, which would prove controversial (think Google+ commenting system for YouTube).

After previous chief of Google+, +Dave Besbris stepped down in March this year, no one specifically replaced the job role. +Bradley Horowitz who has been a core part of the Google+ team from the beginning was announced to be leading a new team - Streams, Photos and Sharing in which Google+ falls under the umbrella.

Since then, the future didn't feel so bright for Google+, especially when core products like Google+ Photos was spun out and into their own products. Even smaller, lesser known features found on Google+ such as circle sharing and data visualisation tool, Ripples were removed all in the name of "streamlining" the service.

#PayWithAPhoto comes to Google Photos on July 29

Something exciting is coming to Google Photos on July 29, according to a curious and cryptic video on their YouTube channel (which seems to have been dormant for the past two years!).

The mouthwatering nine-second video of waffles sizzling doesn't give a lot away - save for the Google Photos cardboard box and #paywithaphoto at the end - but according to a statement from Google on DroidLife, food trucks will be visiting New York City, Portland, Los Angeles and Austin from July 29, where customers can win prizes by using Photos' powerful search capabilities to look for specific items on their devices within a certain time limit. Details on the NYC dates and locations can be found in the article linked.

Google Photos for Android (v1.2) gets improved album management

If you're like me, you've been harnessing the new Google Photos app to make sense of your rat's nest of a picture gallery. Now you've got even more power to wield; don't let it go to your head.

We've been seeing a huge push for Google Photos since its launch earlier this year. Google's made us an offer we can't refuse by offering unlimited storage (photos up to 16 MP and videos up to 1080p resolution). What kind of push, you may ask? I'm talking about teaming up with BuzzFeed and Jurassic World. Impressive! Google's not pulling any punches this time around.

If you want to really learn the ropes for Google Photos, be sure to catch up with our Walkthrough of Google Photos on Android. The rest of this article will wait for you to come back once you're up to speed. For those ready to sink their teeth into the new stuff, read on!