Google Enhances Options For Photos

Google is adding some novel features to its Photos service, including reminders to share pictures with friends and family featured in those photos. 

The search giant made the announcement on Wednesday during its I/O developer conference, during which Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google Photos was growing faster than anyone expected.  

In fact, Photos is now actively used by more than 500 million people every month, who together use the service to back up over 1.2 billion photos and videos daily, according to internal figures. 

The new features rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence, which Pichai said are now driving innovation at Google. “In an AI first world, we are rethinking all of our products, and applying machine learning and AI solve user problems,” Pichai said.

Likewise, Pichai on Wednesday also announced that Google is adding its Smart Reply feature to Gmail. Using AI, the feature “reads” emails in order to suggest appropriate responses. 

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Google on Wednesday also unveiled a new augmented reality feature called Google Lens, which uses machine learning to identify objects in images, and then suggest related material to users.

Google Photos is also adding a “Shared Libraries” feature, with which users can automatically send and receive photos with one other person.

“You can give them access to your full photo library or, if you prefer, only photos of certain people or from a certain date forward,” Anil Sabharwal, vice president of Google Photos, notes in a new blog post.

In a nod to traditionalists, Google Photos is also adding the option to have one’s imagers turned into a photo book.

For the price of $9.99, Google will produce a 20-page softcover book, while $19.99 will buy people a hardcover book.

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