Google Photos gets a trio of new sharing features, thanks to the magic of machine learning


According to Google, you're actually a terrible person. Why? You don't share your photos. On stage at Google I/O 2017, the company announced that it's updating its Google Photos app with three different new features – Suggested Sharing, Shared Libraries, and Photo Books, all designed to let you share your pictures with ease.

The first one, Suggested Sharing, uses Google's artificial intelligence to detect faces in pictures and, well, suggest someone to share these photos with. The proposed use case is as follows: you take a picture of one of your friends, and, rather than you forgetting about it and letting it rot in your library, Google Photos nudges you to share it with the people recognized in the picture.

But while Suggested Sharing is designed with user choice in mind, the second one, Shared Libraries, uses Google's AI to automatically choose which photos to share with whom instead. In short, the user chooses a list of faces to share with a given person, and when Photos detects that face in a picture, it automatically puts in the other person's library as well. To demonstrate it, Anil Sabharwal, the Google Photos VP who was presenting, took out a cardboard cutout of his daughters on stage, took a photo, and Google Photos automatically shared them with his wife. Both Suggested Sharing and Shared Libraries should come to iOS and Android users in the coming weeks.

The last new feature, Photo Books, goes beyond the screen and into the physical world itself. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like: using machine learning, Photos can automatically select a set of pictures, and order you a custom, real-life paper-and-ink photo book. The feature is, unsurprisingly, only available in the United States only, though Google promises it will be expanding to other countries as well. It will be available starting next week, with a soft cover album costing $9.99, while a fancier hardcover will cost you $19.99 instead.

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Lastly, Google Lens integration was also announced, bringing the just-announced feature to Google Photos as well. It's essentially built-in object-recognition, showing users further information about objects in photos.

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