While holding its main keynote at Google I/O, Google introduced an entirely new product. It’s an app. A photos app. Yup, it's the long-awaited Google Photos app that you’ve been hearing so much about in recent weeks
Many reports have claimed that Google is interested in taking popular features from Google+, its fledging social network, and spinning them into standalone products. The Photos feature, for instance, has been rumoured to get its own app for months, and now Google has confirmed it will.
The new app is called Google Photos, of course: “With Google Photos, we built an entirely new experience from the ground up - centered around three big ideas,” said Anil Sabhrwal, the Director of Google Photos. “First, a home for all your photos and videos - available from any device.”
He then added: “Second, help you organise and bring your moments to life. An app that takes the work out of photos and lets you focus on making memories, not managing them. And third, make it easy to share and save what matters.”
What can Google Photos do?
Google Photos auto-backs up every photo you snap with your device. It can also grab media from cameras and SD cards, and then sync everything up to Google Drive. During a demo, Sabhrwal showed how photos appear in a scrollable timeline that you can jump through.
You can also pinch to change from seeing photos across days to seeing photos across months or years. Another gesture - swiping from the right - will bring up something called Collections. It's another timeline, but it's for memorable moments like montages and movies.
Google Photos uses machine learning to understand what's important and then auto-oragnise all your photos, Sabhrwal said. It sorts your photos from over time based on places, people, and things that matter the most in your life. You won't even have to tag a single thing or person.
The most recent photos are always at the top, but you can scroll back to look at older ones. If you want to find a specific photo, you can tap a blue search button and type in keywords (such as "baseball" to find pics from a baseball game you went to with friends).
Share and save
During a demo of how Google Photos organises stuff, we also saw that the app can share to a variety of social media (like Twitter and Instagram). And if you want to share multiple photos at once, it is as easy as selecting one photo and just dragging to include a bunch of other ones.
Google also highlighted a "get a link" button that will let you grab a direct link to a photo or photos you've selected. The link can be shared anywhere and opened anywhere. So, if your friends don't have Google Photos, they can still open the link in their browser to view photos.
From there, Google showed how you can edit photos before sharing or just in general. We could see tools to adjust light and colour, as well as options to add a vignette or crop the photo. You can even select multiple photos in order to create a collage, animation, movie, story, etc.
But if you don't have time for any of that, just use Photos Assistant. Swiping from the left in Google Photos will bring up the Photos Assistant. It serves up creative suggestions for your photos and videos that you can preview and choose to either save or throw away. The choice is yours.
And finally, Google Photos lets you add things like music and themes to movies.
Anything else you need to know?
Google Photos can back up and store unlimited, high-quality photos and videos for free. That's right. Google said it will maintain the original resolution of photos up to 16 megapixels as well as videos in 1080p. It also stores compressed versions in "nearly identical visual quality".
When can you get your hands on Google Photos?
You can get Google Photos today. It is rolling out on Android, iOS, and the web.