At Google’s I/O conference yesterday, the tech giant unveiled several new additions to Google Photos. The app, which now boasts 500 million monthly users, is introducing facial recognition tech and shared libraries, along with photo books and a new feature called Google Lens.
The facial recognition element is part of Suggested Sharing, which is similar to what Facebook offers in its Moments app. Google Photos can identify people in a picture from your list of Google Contacts and offer to share the images with them. It can even pick out the best shots taken at a particular event, and if a suggested person doesn’t have the app, Photos can send an SMS notification.
As the name suggests, Shared Libraries allows you to share images with people, such as a partner or close family member, easily and automatically. You can choose to share entire albums or just part of one, and there’s an option to share every photo you take with a recipient. You can even set the feature to only share photos containing certain people. Those that receive the images can choose to save them to their device automatically.
For those who prefer physical photos, there’s the Photo Books option, which can turn your digital images into real picture albums. The feature lets you pick a series of shots, or it can select those it thinks are the best from a particular event, and it’ll build an album that gets shipped to your home. 7-inch softcover books start from $9.99, have 20 pages, and cost $0.35 for each additional page, while 20-page 9-inch hardcover books, which are also 20-pages long, cost $0.65 for each additional page.
Finally, the company revealed the addition of Google Lens, a machine learning system that is also coming to Google Assistant. It’s able to provide information about something just by pointing your camera at it - Google showed how it can identify flowers and translate Japanese writing into English. You can even direct the camera at a photo of a Wi-Fi name and password to be instantly connected to that network. When Google Lens comes to Photos, it’ll show information based on pictures you’ve already taken.
Both Shared Libraries and Suggested Sharing will be arriving in the coming weeks. Photo Books is available now on the Photos website and will launch on mobile apps next week.