Google finally acknowledges that photos nowadays are just as much about communication as they are a form of memory collection. For years, creating a cumbersome shared album was the only way to share photos via the company's otherwise fantastic Google Photos service. But from today, Google is launching a new share option that is in fact a private messaging feature built into Google Photos iOS and Android for mobile and website.
If you want to share a photo now, you no longer have to create a full album. You can send a one-time message to a friend, as long as they also have Google Photos, which contains a photo, just like you would on Instagram, Snapchat, SMS or another chat app. If you want to make a conversation out of that thread, you can both start chatting and respond to the photos with likes and more sharing. In this way, the pictures become a starting point for a conversation, just like pictures have just become a different form of communication on social platforms.
This is a bigger deal for Google than it seems. That's because it could turn Google Photos & # 39; s more into a social application, which in turn could generate new users. Since the major relaunch in 2015, when Google added free online storage to the service, Google Photos has been a reliable repository for all your photos, mobile or otherwise. For those who mainly take photos with a smartphone, which is now the vast majority of the world, Google Photos is the best way to save an online memory bank without having to think twice about storage or backup. ups.
But Google Photos usually stayed that way, even as the world evolved to view photos as less pristine, edited memories and more as an easy form of direct, visual communication. Nowadays, people take pictures all day long and share them almost immediately, sometimes with a single friend, a group chat or the audience. Many of us don't really think about quality unless it's a shot that has been carefully framed and edited for your most important Instagram feed or maybe Twitter.
At the moment, the share chat function is not that complex. You can start a group chat with as many people as you want. All involved can share photos & videos, such as posts, comments in the thread and share individual files with their own personal collection. You can create a new chat by selecting parts under a photo from the main library, while you can now open existing chats via the & # 39; Share & # 39; tab.
"This feature is not designed to replace all chat apps you already use, but we hope it will improve sharing memories with your friends and family in Google Photos," explains product manager Janvi Shah in a blog post. "This will be rolled out gradually over the coming week and, as always, you can share these photos with your friends and family on any platform – Android, iOS and the Internet – without losing image quality of the photos you are viewing made a backup. "
It's a smart idea, and you can only wonder why it took so long for Google to arrive here when the company announced earlier this year that Google Photo & # 39; s had become the ninth product to hit 1 billion users. It is a huge product that directs people directly to other Google products such as Drive for higher quality backup storage.
From a competitive point of view, it is likely that Google has acknowledged that countless photos are taken and shared in other apps, whether it's Instagram, Snapchat or any number of messaging services such as WhatsApp or Signal. Some of those photos were at least not stored on camera rolls and therefore did not end up in Google Photos. With its new sharing feature, the company has the opportunity to use some of those social interactions for its own service.