Google has just had its developer conference, Google io in which they revealed a bunch of new products and services. One that caught my eye, and that may of interest to many photographers is their update to Google Photos.
The new version of the app doesn’t seem to offer that much more in terms of features to the previous version, the main difference is the new clean user interface as it shows the options and features that are available. But one of the big features that Google touted at there conference is that the app now allows unlimited backup and storage of your photos up to 16 megapixel in size.
Backing up photos from a phone has been a slight nightmare recently as there are so many apps and services offering backup solutions to varying degrees of features and compatibility. I believe with the latest update to the Photos app that this could be the one place that could become the standard. The reasons I think this are that the app is available on Android, iPhone and on your computer, so no matter what platform you are on you can view, organise and upload your images.
The UI is now unified across the devices now as well so I found it easier to keep my images organised as they appear in the same way no matter where I view them. In the past the web app displayed the folders very differently from the phone so it took a bit of effort to figure out where things where when switching devices.
The real power behind Google Photos is the way it automates the organising of your images, its will detect places, people, animals..you name it. With the new version it allows you to quickly search through your images, for example say I want to find a photo of a cat I took when I was visiting Bangkok. I simply search “cat Bangkok” and I get a speedy result of the 2 images I have in my library of cats in Bangkok. I find this feature very useful as it doesn’t require any time-consuming work of tagging my photos one by one, it is all automated and I can quickly search through my images.
Another automated aspect of google photos is the “Auto Awesome” feature, which seems to be called “creations” in the new app. This feature will basically create edits of your photos or make short GIF animations of several images that are taken in quick succession. The results are quite good, they aren’t always to type of alterations I would make of my images but thy are a fun thing to look at when it decides to make an auto awesome of one of my photos.
Another part of the Auto-Awesome feature is the stories, these are a kind of slide show in which the app organised several images that were taken on a specific day or event and will create a timeline of sorts.
One of the new features in the update is the addition of “assistant”, which has an interface much like google now with a card ui which you can swipe away. It seems google is trying to merge the ui of the apps and the web as they are becoming more and more similar. The “Assistant” will notify you of any new auto-awesome photos or new stories that have been created as well as let you manage your ackup settings. At the moment that seems to be all the information it provides but I could see Google making further use of the Assistant portion of the app to provide more information about your photos and offer new things to try related to photography.
I think google are headed in the right direction with there latest update, it takes a little while to get used to if you have been using the previous version. The fact that it offers unlimited backup free of charge alone is a big deal, that and the automated features make it a pleasure to use for viewing and organsing your photos.