Google Photos: One step away from perfection

I’ve always felt, the single biggest contribution of the modern smartphone is the capability to take decent photographs. It’s removed a need for most of us to lug cameras around, and at the same time, exponentially increased our penchant for casual photography.

The logical outcome? An avalanche of photographs, more than we have time to sort and organise into some form of coherence.

I’ve been evaluating photo storage and management solutions recently, and Google Photos (formerly Google+ Photos) is likely the forerunner.

Why so? Consider these:

  1. Unlimited free storage for high-quality images (up t0 16 megapixel resolution)
  2. Mobile app allows automatic upload of photographs taken
  3. Automagical sorting (location, date, objects, even faces if you allow it)
  4. Intuitive creation of events, based around geolocation and timing. For example, it recognises photographs taken during a holiday, and automatically compiles them into a story.
  5. Auto Awesome: create GIFs from successive shots

Facebook is what I use for general sharing. It offers sync from mobile as well, and obviously, its face recognition technology is seriously unparalleled and has helped so much in tagging. Having said that, Google Photos swings some serious clout with the above features.

The only kink I can see? The lack of collaboration features.

I’m a big advocate of sharing and working together, and photographs are no exception, especially for parents. Let’s draw a really simple scenario here.

Right now, there seems to be no clear way for me to create an empty album on Google Photos, and allow my wife to upload her photos of our kids onto the album.

Can you see how much sense that makes? Instead of for example, her transferring the photos to a shared local folder, and me uploading them instead. There’s a Google Photos Backup app that allows me to specify folders for automatic upload, but it’s still a step away from the ideal answer. A workaround more than anything else.

Collaboration really matters. I’ve written before about how Facebook’s recent Scrapbook feature needs better collaboration, and I’ve always felt that the next stage of Facebook albums, would be to allow creation of memories instead.

For example, having everyone who’s attended a wedding, contribute their photographs to a logical container (let’s call it a memory) that allows everyone (especially the happy couple) to enjoy the collective moments as a whole, rather than using hashtags, or having every other friend tag them in the album.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m still really happy with Google Photos, but let’s hope collaboration gets baked into the product really soon.

 

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