Here’s Google Photos, Mountain View’s big shot at making your enormous photo collection usable. It’s unlimited photo and video storage, plus some smart design and brains to make a huge number of photos manageable. It launches today on Android, iOS, and desktop.
Like Flickr, this is supposed to be a a home for all the photos in your library. It uses a slick pinch-and-zoom interface to help you get through all of the images fast—no more scrolling. There’s also a really nice gesture that lets you highlight photos on the app by dragging your finger. It’s pretty slick.
The service supports photos of up to 16 megapixel resolution and 1080p video. No word on RAW photo support, but for starters we doubt it.
“We want to take the work out of photos,” Google’s presenter announced on stage. This means not just storing your photos but automatically organizing them using image recognition intelligence.
Photos will organize your pics by people and places in your life automatically—so you don’t have to tag the places or people. Google emphasizes that this organization is “for your eyes only.” Presumably this is supposed to assuage some of your concerns about privacy. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out. Remember: Google’s business is data.
There’s also some really smart search, which I guess we should expect from Google. When you search for—and this is Google’s example—”snowstorm in Toronto,” Google Photo automatically finds the snapshots your took then, even if you haven’t tagged them as such. If you search for baseball, you get photos from the baseball game you were at.
Google Photos is also centered around sharing. It’s easy to push photos to Twitter or to just get a link that’ll let you send the photo to anyone.
Google’s certainly not the first company to try automatic filtering and organization, but it still might be the first to succeed.. A startup called Everpix developed a pretty slick sorting engine a few years ago, before it buckled under the enormous cost of storing people’s entire photo collections. Flickr also rolled out some image sleuthing brains, although, it doesn’t work perfectly yet.
There’s a lot here. I haven’t even talked about obvious stuff like automatic cloud photo syncing and editing powers. But what’s clear is that Google has taken a step back to create a photo service that’s geared towards the way we actually take and work with photos today.