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Google gears up to unveil long-awaited standalone photo service

Google looks set to roll out a new online image storage and sharing service next week, a move that apparently involves separating its current photo-based offering from the Google+ network. The standalone effort, rumors of which first surfaced last year, is expected to be shown off at the Mountain View company’s annual Google I/O developer bash, which this year kicks off on May 28, insiders told Bloomberg recently.

Google will be hoping its new Web-based, image-focused tool will prove popular with users looking for a convenient photo storage solution with multiple sharing options. Likely to be an enhanced version of its current Google+ Photos offering, the revamped service is expected to provide quick and easy ways to edit images, simple sorting options, and ways to combine photos into panoramas and short animations.

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Google signaled its intention to focus more heavily on its Photos offering earlier this year when it acquired Odysee, an app that automatically backed up smartphone photos to a desktop and also let users easily share content privately with specified recipients.

For sure, taking Photos out of Google+ gives the service a solid chance of scoring plenty of new users, though with many people happy enough with established alternatives, the Web giant will need to offer up some unique features to have any chance of attracting a sizable number of interested users to its overhauled photo-based effort.

The big reveal should be coming next week, so we don’t have too long to wait to find out precisely what the company has in store. Google I/O could bring plenty more surprises too, and we’ve put together a list of what we’re expecting, plus our suggestions for the best live streamed events you’ll want to check out. We’ll bring you all the news from the show at the end of the month.