Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - Google+ Photos could soon become its own thing, distinct from Google+, it's claimed.

Google+ is a social network more celebrated for its photo features rather than anything social-related. So it is surprising to learn that the company wants to turn those popular photo features into a separate product. According to Bloomberg, which cited unnamed sources, Google is exploring ways to attract photo-savvy consumers who don't use Google+.

Google+ Photos and its serveral editing features will apparently still exist and work for the social network; it'll just be repackaged and rebranded for non-Google+ users. It seems the company has spent too much time trying to encourage Google+ usage, and now it wants to make some of the social network's features more independent.

Earlier this week, for instance, Google opened the Google+ Hangouts video-conferencing feature to business customers who aren’t Google+ users. This obvious move away from Google+ follows the abrupt departure of Google executvie Vic Gundotra in May. He was often referred to as the man behind Google+.

It's worth noting a seperate Google+ Photos product could help Google better rival Facebook-owned Instagram. The mobile app, as of last spring, had 200 million monthly active users who uploaded 60 million photos per day, where as Google recently claimed it had 500 million Google+ users who uploaded more than 1.5 billion photos every week.

READ: Google+ Photos: Auto Awesome and photo features explored

It's not clear if Google is slowly phasing out three-year-old Google+ or if it simply really wants to place more emphasis on the service's photo features by creating an entirely new product.

That said, in response to Bloomberg's report, Google has released the following statement on Friday: “Over here in our darkroom, we’re always developing new ways for people to snap, share and say cheese."

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 1 August 2014.