Google is updating its popular Google Photos app to make it faster to share photos with friends.
If you've ever felt bad for not sharing snaps or videos with friends and family, Google is promising to alleviate that guilt with new sharing features in Google Photo. As it notes in a new promo video, you know you're a great photographer, but you also know "you're kind of a terrible person". That's because you're forgetful, easily distracted or just too lazy to go through your library, and select the right photos to share.
A new feature called Suggested Sharing takes all this work out of the equation. It will remind you to share photos and Google's computer-vision algorithms select photos worth sharing. It also suggests who to send them to, based on who's in the snap. After hitting send, the photos are placed in a Shared folder and contacts are prompted to contribute to this folder, too.
Another feature called Shared Libraries lets you link libraries with one other person, such as your partner. There are some controls here too, with the option to provide access to the full library, or photos of only certain people from a specific date onwards. This feature could be handy for couples whose shared memories of their kids are split between two phones.
Google Photos launched two years ago and now has 500 million users across iOS and Android, according to Google. The service is backing up more than 1.2 billion photos a day, which all goes to helping improve the algorithms for its smart editing, creation and new sharing features.
Suggested Sharing is likely to be a time-saver, but Shared Libraries could be problematic for privacy. The 'certain people' filter relies on Google's AI to enforce it, while the full access feature, although it does need to be enabled and is limited to one person, assumes your library is free of photos you'd rather not share with anyone.
Both sharing features are rolling out to Google Photos for Android and iOS in the next few weeks, according to Google.
Google has also launched a photo print-ordering service called Photo Books, which helps users pick and layout photos for printing. After making a selection of photos, Photo Books will find the best photos, and removes duplicates and bad shots.
The seven-inch 20-page soft-cover book is available from $10, while the hardcover nine-inch 20-page book starts at $20. The service is only available in the US, but Google is planning to bring to "more countries soon".