Update: And Google Photos is available! Go try it out for yourself right now.
Announced today at Google IO, Google Photos is a free photo storage, sharing and editing service that essentially combines the functions of Google Drive images and Google+.
What's the big deal? The service will offer unlimited storage of 16MP photos and 1080p videos for free starting today on desktop browsers, iOS and Android. You'll be able to access the photos from any device and directly share the photos with friends and family via a direct link instead of by email.
Key differentiating features include an automatic storage assistant that groups photos by people, places and things, and a timeline feature that reduces scrolling when searching for "that one photo from about five years ago where you did that one thing with Steve."
While that may sound like Facebook's geotagging feature, it's not. Google Photos will recognize faces and familiar places, grouping them intelligently instead of by the location in which you took the photo.
During the keynote, Google had two examples of this - a snow storm in the midwest and a baseball game the presenter had attended previously. Photos automatically placed the visually similar images in one group without tags or manual direction.
What this means is that you'll no longer need to create albums for trips or manually sort every picture that has you and your spouse together. Google will do the heavy lifting.
Basic photo editing software will come built into the service, and once you share a series of images the recipient will be able to directly add them to their library with a few clicks. The company insists that these new groups are "for your eyes only," however, and will never share the photos with others without your approval.
Also new is the ability to drag and highlight photos to select more than one photo at a time, and all users will have the added benefit of automatic backup and syncing with Google Drive.
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