JASPER, Alberta —How we share photos with family and friends changed this week, for the better.
How does the sound of an automatic feed to the most important person in your life sound? This one doesn’t rely on you having to select photos, compose an e-mail or grab a link to share.
That’s the promise of Google Photos' new Shared Libraries feature, and the search giant's automatic tools.
When it comes to photo sharing, let’s face it, there are so many ways to do it, none of them great. Peek over my shoulder at this image on my phone is one really popular method, along with attaching photos to e-mails and clogging the other person’s inbox. For mass sharing, many post to Facebook or Instagram for everyone to see, and for one-to-one alternatives, use a service like Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox or Google Photos to generate a link and share directly with selected friends and family.
The new twist introduced this week by Google Photos allows you to send, say, Mom a feed of every photo you snap of the new baby, without you having to go in and directly sort through the photos, select a group of them and push them out with an e-mail link, or gallery you created online.
The Shared Libraries lets you select to share your entire library—every new and old photo you snap, or just specific photos of people in your library, and you can select the dates too—like every shot from this week.
TalkingTech has been a huge fan of the Google Photos app and desktop website since it debuted in May, 2015. Its sales proposition is huge—free unlimited storage and automatic backup of every photo you shoot on your smartphone and computer, at slightly lower resolution.
This solves the problem most smartphone users have to contend with: "out of storage” nag messages when you’ve whipped through your 16 GB on the entry level phone. Plus Google Photos does a great job of finding your photos of friends and family, quickly.
The new Shared Libraries feature puts pressure on Apple and others to improve their clunky, too-many-steps-involved photo sharing.
The new tools are great for those with newborns, or to any parent or grandparent eager to see every new shot of the kid. But I already see room for improvement.
You can only choose one person to share your new feed with and one person only. So if it's the grandparent model, only grandma or grandpa gets the feed delivered to his or her inbox, not both.
And since you only get to share your library with one special person—please be careful and think hard about how you share. Does your brother or sister really want to see every one of your July 4th parade shots and summer vacation photos?
Google Photos is available via the IOS and Android app and on the web at photos.google.com