July 08, 2011

Blogger, Picasa succumb to Google’s rebranding

The media world has yet to stop buzzing about Google’s intriguing new social network, named the Google+ project. It only seems right to follow up on our last post with recent news about some of Google’s most valuable website possessions — and how Google+ plays into the equation.

Mashable.com announced this week that Google has plans to retire its Blogger and Picasa brands in order to rename them as Google products. The popular blogging and photo-sharing websites, respectively, are being rebranded under Google’s initiative to integrate all of its brands for the launch of Google+.

Blogger will be renamed “Google Blogs,” and Picasa will instead become “Google Photos.” The changes will be implemented as soon as mid to late August, which many believe is when Google+ will be released for public use.

These initiatives are part of a slowly evolving rebranding process on Google’s part that has been in effect since at least 2008, when Google renamed the newly acquired JotSpot as Google Sites. This time, however, the newly rebranded sites will be implemented as features of Google+, although the details of exactly how aren’t clear yet.

Google’s rebranding endeavor certainly has the potential for greater brand recognition and prestige. If you visit the current Blogger site, one of the top ten most visited sites in the world, it’s not very clear that it’s owned by Google (Picasa is a little more obvious, with the word “google” in its domain name). Rebranding each site under the Google umbrella not only eliminates any doubt about the site’s brand, but also strengthens Google’s image of versatility in the online world.

Of course, the payoff may not be worth the integration in the long run. Users may not utilize the new brands through Google+ at all, and Blogger and Picasa loyalists might be upset enough with the obvious commercialization of their favorite sites to choose different blogging or photo-sharing options. Additionally, although consistency is important for the Google brand (Google Maps, Google Images, Google News, etc.), it could erase the unique, image-conjuring identities formerly held by names like Blogger and Picasa.

Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting to see how the shelf lives of these popular sites fare when they are rebranded with the Google name. Do you think the initiative is a clever strategy or a step in the wrong direction?

Contributed by Allison Meeks

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