The standalone Photos app was released to the public during last month's Google I/O conference, finally completing the separation with Google+ as rumors (and facts) had long suggested. While the new Photos app was widely accepted as an improvement in many ways, it also lacked many of the enhanced editing features that had made the old version so useful. Unfortunately, installing the standalone Photos app effectively hid access to the version built into Google+. That was probably a pretty good sign about what was to come. With the latest update to Google+, users who have stuck to the old version will be warned that it is not long for this world.
This Google+ version of Photos will stop working soon. But don't worry!
All your photos and videos are already in the new Google Photos — organized, searchable, shareable, and ready for you.
Since many users have already made the switch, they can look forward to Google+ going on a diet. The app stands to lose about 20% of its weight (that's an estimate) after the old Photos functionality is stripped away.
For those that have abstained from the new Photos app for the sake of keeping the editing features of Google+, it's probably time to move on. Fortunately, there's already a perfect replacement from Google available in the Play Store: Snapseed. Many may have forgotten Snapseed since it was acquired by Google back in 2012, but it was the precursor for both the interface and functions that exist today in Google+ Photos. Updates have been a bit sparse, but a big jump to v2.0 came out just a few weeks ago, suggesting that Google is planning to keep it maintained for some time to come.
As a final note: there are a few devices (possibly just the Nexus 5, 6, and 9) that shipped without the stock gallery app. These handsets (and tablet) used Google+ Photos exclusively. While our readers will have no trouble installing the new Photos app or finding a 3rd-party alternative (like QuickPic), we know some of you have also encouraged family members and friends to use the same devices, and some of them may be confused by losing the only gallery app they know. Just a suggestion, you might want to get in touch in the next few weeks to help them get squared away.