Google is launching a new service for managing, storing, and sharing your photos and videos. It’s called Google Photos and if it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the evolution of the Photos portion of Google Plus. But you don’t need a Google+ account to use the new service… and you don’t need to pay.
Google Photos offers unlimited cloud storage for photos and videos.
You’ll be able to use Google Photos at photos.google.com or download Android or iOS apps starting today.
Shoot photos or videos on your phone and you’ll be able to access them on any device through the web interface. And they’ll be automatically sorted into categories based on people places, or other criteria, thanks to Google’s image recognition software.
This lets you search your photos, browser by category, and generally do a better job of sifting through the thousands of pictures you take when you’ve got a camera in your pocket all the time.
Google Photos also includes tools for tuning color, lighting, and other features of photos. And you can use the “Assistant” feature to create collages or “stories” from a series of photos or videos with a single tap. This used to be called Auto Awesome when the Photos app was part of Google+ but the new version may be even better since you can decide which content to include and when to create a new story or collage.
Unlimited storage sounds pretty good… is there a catch? Yeah. Google will be using compression on your files. But the company says the high-quality compression algorithm results in photos that are still print-ready.
Upload photos up to 16 megapixels in size or videos at resolutions up to 1080p and Google says it will maintain the resolution of the content you upload.
Since the service isn’t tied exclusively to Google+ anymore, it’s easy to share photos with Twitter, Facebook, or other social networks.