Two weeks after Google showed off a number of new features coming to Google Photos, a few of those features have already been added to the app.
As you may recall, I’ve been recommending Google Photos ever since the app was first announced two years ago. In the time since, Google has dramatically improved its capabilities, making it even more valuable. And there are now over 500 million people actively using Google Photos each month.
At Google I/O 2017, Google announced several new features coming to the app, including simpler, proactive photo sharing, automatic photo sharing, photo books, archiving, and, for later in 2017, Google Lens integration.
I’m particularly excited about the automatic photo sharing feature because this is a key need. But in the two weeks since I/O, Google has shipped three updates to Google Photos on Android and iOS that added, and then improved on, some of those other new features.
Photo books came first, and it’s now possible to create 7-inch square softcover books and 9-inch square hardcover books directly from your phone. The prices are reasonable—$9.99 for softcover and $19.99 for hardcover—and the layouts look nice. But I don’t really see the need for such a thing, personally. My photos are all digital and will stay that way.
Next, Google added archiving capabilities. The idea here is that you have certain photos in your library that aren’t necessarily personal photos—receipts and so on—and maybe you don’t want to see them as you browse around. So you can select one or more and choose Menu > Archive to archive them. They’ll still be in the collection, can be found in a new Archive view, and you can search for them. But you won’t see them in the Photos view anymore.
Finally, Google improved archiving with an auto-archive feature that will suggest pictures to archive so you can do it all in one whack. In my case, Google Photos prompted me to “clear the clutter,” recommending over 30 photos of receipts. (I have to take pictures of receipt for my expense reports.)
These new features are really cool, but what I’m most interested in, of course, is the automatic sharing functionality. Hopefully, we’ll see that happen soon.
I strongly recommend Google Photos, and remember that there’s no reason not to use two or more photo apps to automatically back-up your smartphone-based photos. One of those apps should be Google Photos.