Google Photos is a lot more popular than you think. And now it has come with new features that will excite you. Google Photos is an app used on Android smartphones and devices that allow you to save photos. It’s an alternative to keeping all those photos on your phone.
At the Google I/O developer conference on Wednesday, May, 17, the team announced new features for sharing photos and printed photo books. The team also revealed its plans to turn your photos into business cards with just one tap. You can also link your photos of landmarks and paintings to descriptions from Google’s Knowledge Graph, reports The Verge.
This was two years in the making, according to Google Photos team. They believe the camera roll will become obsolete and replaced by Photos. Most people have already been uploading or saving their photos to cloud software. It wouldn’t be unusual if they were using Google Photos for the same thing.
“You don’t think about your life as a reverse chronological set of photos in order,” engineering director James Gallagher told The Verge.
“You think about moments – this is when I started a job, or this is when I got married. That’s what we want our product to be – how we live our lives in photos.”
Google has dabbled in photo apps before. Photos already come preinstalled on smartphones that use the Google version of Android. It also transferred over users of its previous service Picasa, which shut down last year. Google is making it easy for users to share photos, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Google Photos account. It allows users to share photos via SMS messages, emails, and on social media sites.
Sharing photos have required action on the owner’s part. In the next few weeks, Google Photos will suggest that you share photos with the friends in your photos and it detects them in your photos. Google is a bit behind since Facebook has been doing it with its app Moments and on its social media site for years. Google is hoping that this feature will work just as well as Facebook’s, if not better. If Google Photos is what you use for photos, then that’s good news for users.
“It takes all the work out of it,” Lieb says.
“You still have complete control over what gets shared, and to whom. But it reduces the friction so much. In the best case, it’s literally two button presses.”
Google doesn’t want to completely copy Facebook. They want to take that feature and turn into automated sharing between you and another trusted user. Once the recipient accepts your invite, they will see whatever photos you’ve authorized to share in real time.
“Some people have a special person in their life for whom it is still kind of annoying to [ask] to hit share,” Lieb says.
“If you have a spouse that you’re not cheating on, and kids that you’re always taking pictures of, it might make sense to automate that sharing. And so the team built a feature it calls the shared library, which lets one person see your photos as you take them in real time.”
Google Photos’ other announcement is about its photo books. With this feature, you can make one on your phone or on the Web, starting at $10 to $20. That cost is only for the first 20 pages. Each additional page costs $0.35 to $0.65 and can add up quickly, especially if you just went on a long vacation. Google wants to make the books through the prompts in the Google Photos app. The team hopes that photo books will make users buy more books throughout the year.
“It’s not just about the book that you make at the end of the year to capture the entire year,” says Aravind Krishnaswamy, another engineering director at Photos.
“It can become this lightweight thing you do a lot more often.”
Google Photos just hit 500 million monthly users. Photos users upload 1.2 billion images a day on the app. With its new features, the Photos team hopes to make your camera roll obsolete by the end of the year.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]