Plus" umbrella might involve rebranding two of Google's longstanding products: Blogger and Picasa. Mashable's Ben Parr reports that the Blogger and Picasa names - not the products - will go away, as early as the end of the month. That timing will coincide with, according to Parr, the opening of Google Plus to the public.
As Parr points out, this won't be the first time that Google has rebranded products, particularly following acquisitions. The VOIP company GrandCentral, for example, became Google Voice after Google acquired it. Both Picasa and Blogger are acquisitions, although it's been almost a decade since they were bought by Google.
So why rebrand these two products now?
To help rebrand Google, in turn, as a social network.
Parr's reports, if accurate (Google has not responded to my request for a comment), are hardly surprising. The massive push around Google Plus seems to bring all the company's social elements under one site: mobile and video messaging (Huddle and Hangouts), relationship management (Circles), and photo-sharing (Picasa, soon to be Google Photos).
Bye Bye Blogger? Or Better Blog Integration?Renaming Picasa clarifies the product's purpose; renaming Blogger, less so. Indeed, the report from Mashable seems to have set off quite a stir of nostalgia (in my Google Plus stream at least), as many of us have fond memories of the blogging platform from the earliest days of blogging's existence - whether we still use Google's blogging platform or not. Although many of us have moved on to other blogging tools - Tumblr or WordPress, for example - Blogger does remain one of the most-trafficked sites on the Web. For its part Google has been in the process of refreshing and updating the look to Blogger this year. However, removal of the Blogger brand would be a much bigger change than simply new templates.
Hopefully that change would also include integrating Blogger more fully into the Google Plus site, linking Blogger profiles with Google profiles and giving blog updates a prominent position. But that integration isn't something folks would like to see just with Blogger. Many early users of Google Plus are calling for the platform's integration with Google Docs and of course Google Apps accounts as well.
Rebranding GoogleThose products, however, already fall into the Google naming convention. The other outlier, of course, when it comes to branding is YouTube. Parr says that Google has no plans to rebrand YouTube to Google Video (a good thing considering the fate of the actual Google Video earlier this year).
Bringing all the products into alignment with the same sort naming convention does help solidify the Google brand - search "plus" all these social, communication, and collaboration components. Whether or not this adds more fuel to the fire about supposed antitrust violations remains to be seen.