Today during their I/O 2015 Keynote Google announced Google Photos, a new service that will allow users to easily upload, edit, and share photographs from all of their devices. Google Photos seems like a reboot of Google's previous efforts for making a photo sharing service through Google+, and is instead a standalone product with its own dedicated apps and website.

Google's goal is that Google Photos will become a place where users can permanently store a continually growing collection of photos from their cameras and mobile devices. They also hope to improve upon the organization and sharing of photos, which has become a difficult problem to tackle with people taking and sharing more photos than ever.

The big promise of Google Photos is that the storage for your photos will be unlimited. This is a huge step above the measly 5GB of iCloud storage you can use with Apple's Photos offerings, and still an improvement over services like Flickr which offer users 1TB of storage. However, there is a caveat to the unlimited storage. While you aren't limited by the amount of photos or videos you can store, you are somewhat limited by their quality. Users who opt for unlimited storage can only store images at up to 16MP, and videos at 1080p. This shouldn't really affect any users who intend to use the service for storing photos from their smartphone, as most smartphone cameras have lower resolutions than 16MP.

There is another option for users who want to use Google Photos for their high resolution pictures from their DSLR or mirrorless camera, or who just have a very high resolution smartphone. Users can opt to have Google Photos use their Google Account's 15GB of storage, and with this option there are no limits to file size or resolution. Since many devices give away 1TB of free Google Drive storage, I suspect that this option will be popular among users who want to keep their photos in the highest possible resolution while staying within Google's ecosystem instead of going with another photo offering like Flickr.

The second half of Google Photos is how it will intelligently organize your photos. Google can analyze the content of photos and group them into categories based on their subject. While I haven't seen this in action, if it does actually work as well as Google claims then it would remove much of the hassle involved with organizing your photo collection.

Google Photos also allows for groups of photos to be shared. You can share a link to one of Google's automatically created groups, or you can make a collection of photos and get a single link to share them all at once. There's no need for the person you're sharing them with to have a Google+ account or to have the app installed.

In addition to grouping and sharing, Google Photos has all the other features that one would expect from a photos app such as simple color adjustments, cropping, and other editing controls. Google Photos will be available today across essentially all major platforms, with apps available for iOS, Windows, OS X, and an update to the existing Photos app coming on Android.

Source: Official Google Blog

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  • shashankj - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    There are 2 modes high quality and original quality while uploading pictures. HQ lets you save unlimited photos whereas photo upload using original quality will be counted against your google drive storage (15 gb free)
  • cad0p - Tuesday, June 2, 2015 - link

    So not much of a difference luckily let apart panoramas, good to know. I tested myself at a 100% crop a photo and they seemed exactly the same, the only thing I really noticed was the different size lol (2.1 vs 1.2 MB). I think that it might be a sort of backup along with other services of course. I'm yet to test videos but I think they'll be in youtube-like quality because they show up with a youtube player in the web version. If it is like youtube the colors will be less vivid and shiny. A clear example is watching a video made recording the iMac screen and you can see the differences between the original.
  • Bob-o - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    There is so much churn at Google and their services. . . Google-this, Google-that. . . why didn't they just stick with Picasa and improve it? There is no vision or consistency there, just throw stuff against the wall and see if it sticks, if not, move on. . .
  • syxbit - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    I just uploaded a 2.5MB 13MP jpg. It uploaded as a 1.1MB 13MP jpeg.
    So it keeps the resolution, but heavily compresses. I'm really surprised they didn't use their own image compression, WEBP... That would have saved them 10-20%... I'm guessing they just didn't want the publicity of storing in a weird format
  • Jimios - Friday, May 29, 2015 - link

    Images do get compressed, but honestly I find it almost impossible to tell the difference from the original, even if I zoom at 100%. Even so, I don't think the "High Quality" setting is meant for true cloud backup for your photos.

    Still a great service for organising and quick access to your photos, though. And if you truly care about 100% original quality, you can still upload using the "Original" setting and use your storage quota. Google storage is cheap, to be honest.
  • zodiacfml - Friday, May 29, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the tests and I agree with all. That is my dilemma, Google storage is cheap but having it free is also very nice to have. I guess, I have to try it out myself as I have high quality 4.7MP images that don't won't to be compressed anymore.
  • pixelstuff - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    I'm wondering if photos taken from a phone will sync back to a Windows desktop computer. Right now that is what I find myself doing most often. Trying to manually get photos from the phone to the computer.
  • Impulses - Thursday, May 28, 2015 - link

    Not sure they'll sync per se, unless you go thru Drive instead, but you can surely redownload on desktop... Not the most efficient way of doing things tho, lot of bandwidth waste and recompression involved.
  • Aritra Ghatak - Friday, May 29, 2015 - link

    Does the uploaded images gets automatically deleted from the device?
  • dbolot1 - Friday, May 29, 2015 - link

    Will the previously uploaded pictures at low resolution from desktop at 2.8 megapixels be reuploaded at 16 megapixels?

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