Google Photos: Now With Unlimited Storage For Your Photos & Video
As expected Google splits its photo product from Google+ and hopes to do for photo storage with Gmail did for email.
Google’s long-anticipated update to its Photos product was unveiled today at Google I/O and the biggest news is that users will now have free and unlimited storage for photos and videos.
“Starting today, after updates the iOS and Android apps and the web, people will be able to back up all their photos and videos — up to 16 megapixels for photos and 1080p for videos — for free on Google servers. If you want to store higher resolution content, there are paid options available.
It’s an aggressive move by Google; it can be seen as a shot across the bow of Yahoo, Dropbox and Apple, which also offer cloud-based photo storage services but all charge fees after a certain threshold. Bradley Horowitz, Google’s Vice President of Streams, Photos, and Sharing, laid out the company’s lofty ambitions to Steven Levy on Backchannel:
We aspire to do for photo management what Gmail did for email management. Gmail wasn’t the first email service. But it offered a different paradigm of how one managed one’s inbox. We want to do that for photo management: To give you enough storage so you can relax and not worry about how much photo bandwidth you’re consuming, and enough organizing power so you don’t have to think about the tedium of managing your digital gallery. It will happen for you transparently, in the background. I don’t think there’s another company on earth that can make that claim.
Beyond free storage, Google Photos is a major update has quite a few new features, including easier sharing of photos in places other than Google+, a major limitation of the previous photo product that was born within Google’s social network. The new Google Photos exists independently of Google+. People can share photos or groups of photos with a link and the people they send them to don’t need a Google Photo account to view or download photos.
Google is also leveraging its machine learning tools to automatically categorize photos in users’ photo buckets, making tagging or the creation of albums unnecessary. More than just faces, the system recognizes trees, flowers, birthday parties and other commonly photographed subjects. The automatic categorization helps with search, enabling a user to type beach to see all of his or her beach scenes even if the word beach isn’t in photo metadata.
Google also also upgraded its Auto Awesome feature, renaming its the Assistant that suggests ways to trick out your photos, by making collages, stories or GIFs.
Here’s a rundown of more of the features from Google and a video that shows them in action:
- AUTOMATIC BACKUP – Have peace of mind that all your photos and videos are safe, with automatic backup from your phone, tablet, computer, and more.
- ALWAYS AVAILABLE – Take a lifetime’s worth of photos with you wherever you go, accessible from any device via apps for Android, iOS, and the Web.
- OFFLINE – Your photos are available offline so you can reliably access them, even when cell service or internet connection is unpredictable.
- MANAGE PHONE STORAGE – When your phone is running low on storage, safely clear photos and videos that are already backed up to your Google account. You’ll never again have to worry about deleting a photo to make space on your phone.
- JUMP ACROSS TIME – Easily navigate a lifetime of photos with simple gestures. Quickly pinch to zoom across weeks, months, and years of photos. Or jump to a specific time with a few quick taps.