If you want your photos to last for generations, you should be printing them out. But finding the time to decide which of your shots are worthy of hard copies can be time-consuming, leading most of us to simply not to. For $8 per month, however, Google Photos is testing a new service that automatically sends you printed copies of 10 AI-selected photos, requiring nothing from you but a credit card number.
You may think that backing up your photo collection to multiple drives, or paying for a cloud-based service to store them, guarantees your images are preserved for decades to come. But hard drives randomly fail, become obsolete, or get accidentally dropped. And online services come and go, often taking millions of images with them when they suddenly shut down for a myriad of unforeseen reasons. There’s also the risk of getting hacked, or a family member passing before they’ve shared their password. It seems old-fashioned, but printed photos are still the most reliable way to preserve and share your memories.
According to 9To5Google, Google Photos has started a very limited trial of a new service (only those seeing an invitation banner when they visit Google Photos can try it out, and those invites are only being sent to users based in the US) that charges users $8 per month for 10 4x6 photos printed on matte cardstock with a thin white border making them easier to handle. Gizmodo reached out to Google for confirmation of the program’s details and will update this post when we hear back.
If you shop around you’ll find that 80 cents per photo isn’t the cheapest way to print your shots, but what Google Photos is really offering with this new service is the convenience of users being almost completely hands-off the process. The images are culled from your last 30 days of photos (so you’ll want to have the option for all your smartphone shots to be automatically uploaded to Google Photos turned on) and are selected using the service’s AI-powered smarts. Users are able to select one of three themes that define what photos are automatically selected including focusing on people and pets, landscapes, or a mix of everything. But according to 9To5Google users will be able to edit the photos before the print run, although it’s not certain if that specifically means just the framing and colors of each shot, or if users can override what Google Photos has selected.
The subscription fee includes delivery of the photos right to your door, so if this ever expands to international markets you can expect the monthly fee to be a bit higher. Despite the cost, not having to take the time to sort through a month’s worth of photos to find the ones that are worth preserving makes this a very compelling subscription. And you’ll probably appreciate it, even more, the next time your phone kicks the bucket and takes years worth of photos with it.