Google Photos Adds Photo Books, Archiving

Posted on June 3, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Mobile, iOS, Android, Music + Videos with 11 Comments

Google Photos Adds Photo Books, Archiving

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.


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Comments (11)

11 responses to “Google Photos Adds Photo Books, Archiving”

  1. normcf

    I like that we can archive photos so they don't show up in the main feed, but I'd like a hierarchical area in there so I could still group things like receipts together. Still, this is a useful feature where I have already put photos, not for general consumption, so they don't accidentally show up when I'm scrolling through.

  2. siko

    Yes, bring all your data voluntarily to Google. Let them make money with it. Don't share the profit, of course not, it's your data!

    • Lateef Alabi-Oki

      In reply to siko:


      I'll take smart services, bolstered by state-of-the-art machine learning and artificial intelligence, over "profit" any day.

      That's why billions of users entrust their data with Google. They are one of the few companies, if not the only one, that actually puts my data to good use.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to siko:

      Google aren't perfect, but I'd trust them with my data way more than Microsoft. Google seem to be trying to do things to make a real difference, to try and make things better, and don't seem to be pushing or coercing people into using these features. If you don't want to, they won't force you.

      They have probably the best AI and machine learning capability in the world, and it subtly touches most things you do on Android now, without the in your face mentality Microsoft have.

      • crfonseca

        In reply to Tony Barrett:

        Uh. Google as a pretty long history of forcing people to use their stuff, remember when everyone got signed up for Google Wave?

        And when that failed spectacularly, Google, having learned nothing from the forced signups debacle that was the reason it failed (although, to be fair, it was also incredibly confusing), forced everyone into Google+

        And when that failed they forced everyone to signup to Google+ if they wanted to make simple comments on Youtube.

        More recently, Google Maps tracks absolutely, and with rather creepy accuracy, everywhere you go, it doesn't merely place you on a map, it actually records what places (shops, gas stations, parkings, etc.) you've been to, and how you got there. This isn't opt-in, and there's no way to opt-out of this "feature".

        The nice Photo app features? Yeah, these features are not opt-in, and likely you won't be able to turn them off (like in the Maps app you can't turn off the Timeline "feature")

        Android itself sends back a literal metric ton of data back to Google, whether it's app and OS telemetry (which is only scary and a big violation of privacy in Windows 10), but also, and I quote "telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls". And guess what, you can't opt-out of this "feature" either.

        So yeah, technically Google doesn't force you to use any of these features, because it's not like they force you to use their services to begin with.

  3. Elan Gabriel

    Who are the people that are using these share features ? I've yet to meet a person, geek or "normal user", that shared a file or folder. People email/transfer via chat apps on phones/post on Facebook etc.. Am I living in a bubble ?

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to Elan Gabriel:

      I find myself using a mix of links and actual files. For example, this morning I got a "Rediscover this day" notification so I opened Google Photos to see the little collage and the accompanying photos from that day. "Neat", I think, so I press Share>Messages and send to my wife. She gets a share link.

      Over the weekend I captured a nice video I wanted to share. Rather than squeezing a 25MB file into an SMS (for a mix of Android and iOS users) or email I opted to share a link instead.

      Ditto for a recent album from a vacation. I pulled together photos and videos from my phone, my wife's iPhone, my Nikon dSLR and my Canon camcorder. I'm not posting all that on Facebook, nor am I going to curate a series of individual posts for all interested parties. Everyone gets a link via email. They can peruse on their phone, tablet or PC as they like. If I opt to cut together a short movie from all that stuff, I'm not going through all that effort to have it compressed to hell by SMS.

  4. crfonseca

    Is this a iOS thing only?

    Or Google Android device only?

    Or Android 7.1 only, you know, for the 0,6% of Android users that have it?

    Or maybe a US thing only?

    Because on my Android device, that is running Android 7.0, I don't see *any* of these features.

    On an unrelated note, the Photos app in build 16199 *does* have quite a few AI features, like facial recognition (but it doesn't actually go creepy and name people), animal and object recognition (want just photos with dogs? or chairs?) and does make nice-ish films with the photos.

    Edit to add: this is done *locally* even it the photos are on OneDrive, which while nice privacy-wise, kind of defeats the purpose, since you'll to let the Photos app scan *all* your photos on each device you might have.