One of the biggest announcement from Google’s I/O 2015 keynote was Google Photos. The new service is launching later today and will provide free unlimited cloud storage for both photos and videos. The only caveat is that photos have a maximum 16-megapixel size, while video is limited to 1080p footage.
This is a huge move by Google, whose strategy when it comes to photos has been fragmented for years. Its original Picasa service had offline and online versions, which then got combined with Google+, while full-resolution images were stored in Google Drive.
The new service is rolling out today on Android, iOS and via web browsers today. Phone, tablet or even PC webcam will automatically backup photos to the cloud, and all the photos will be able to live in one place. Users will still be able to sync photos to Google Drive for original photos over 16 megapixels.
With all those photos in one place, Google looks to have put a lot of thought into how user will browse them, or find a particular shot. There’s impressive-looking pinch to zoom on, letting users quickly move from a single photos, to thumbnails representing days, weeks, months or even years.
Photos are tagged automatically, organizing by person, place or object. There are also powerful search tools, so users can search for almost anything and image recognition will find the photos almost instantly. There’s also editing tools, and it will generate collages or edit together video clips automatically.
Sharing is simple too. Simply select a photo, or tap-and-drag to select multiple photos. Users can then send a single link to anyone, whether they have Google Photos or not, and they will be able to click on that link and go to a webpage displaying those photos. If they do have Google Photos, then a simple tap and they can then save those photos to their own library of images. It will also allow sharing to Facebook and Twitter.
We’ll be bringing you a more in-depth review in the near future.