Google launches Photovine, a photo-sharing social network

Google has quietly launched a new photo sharing app for smartphones called Photovine. Rumours about the service have been doing the rounds for the last few weeks.

Photovine has put up a teaser video on YouTube giving a glimpse of the photo-sharing social network (see video below). Photovine is operated by Slide, a company that the search engine giant had acquired in August 2010 for $182 million.

While Google hasn’t made any public announcements about Photovine on its official blog or on its Twitter accounts, it had applied for a trademark over the Photovine name on June 7, 2011. Also the photovine.com domain name is registered in the name of Google Inc.

Google launches Photovine, a photo-sharing social network

“Photovine is a community that’s about creating fun and unique collections of photos that we call Vines,” reads the company overview on the Photovine Facebook page.

Users can share content captured through Photovine on other social networking services and may also be able to pull in content from other social networking services into Photovine. At the core of Photo vine are vines, that is a like a constantly growing family of photos connected through a common caption. The Photovine concept seems similar to the new version of Twitter search that displays photo and video content attached to hashtags and other search results.

Photovine is currently invitation only and users can request for an invite through their website – http://www.photovine.com.

Speculation is rife that Google may integrate the service with its recently launched social media product, Google+. But Google already owns the popular Picasa photo sharing service and two parallel services can confuse users.

Photovine is also not marketing itself as a Google product, in fact there is hardly any mention of Google in its publicity material and also on its website, except that it is a part of Slide that is owned by Google. Even the phone displayed on the Photovine website is an iPhone and not a phone that runs on Google’s Android software.