Google Photos to serve up “memories” and simplify photo printing

More than a billion people in 70 countries use Google Photos to store, edit, and share their visual memories, and Google has a few new features in store for them.

Much like Facebook’s Your Memories, a new Google Photos Memories feature will bring up snapshots you’ve shared in recent years. A new chat-like photo-sharing feature due out in the coming months will let you have a conversation with pictures. And the app now lets you print 4-by-6 canvases and photographs thanks to partnerships with CVS and Walmart Photo.

Memories will appear as a circular image at the top of the Google Photos interface on desktop and mobile. The feature uses artificial intelligence to find the best photos from the same week a year ago, two years ago, etc. Thus, you should not see duplicates and screenshots in your memories. A Hide option lets you remove people and animals that are too painful to remember while bringing back fond memories you may have forgotten.

Conversational sharing encourages ongoing photo exchanges between close contacts. New photos of the chosen people will automatically be added to the conversation, and you can scroll through these photos on a Google Nest Hub screen, with the newly added images showing up automatically.

The app also lets you search for text. Let’s say you took a photo of a recipe for scones. Now you can search for “scone” and you’ll see not only photos containing buttery morning pastry, but all photos containing the word “scone” as text. This is also useful for signs and event posters that you have photographed.

Other Auto-Creates that will remain in Google Photos include Movies, Animations, Collages, and Color Pop, which changes backgrounds to black and white. A Google representative said 35 million of these edited photos are shared or saved every week.

Memories and text-in-image search will start rolling out today, and conversational sharing will roll out over the next few months.

Photo printing made easy

Google staff were surprised when user feedback indicated that many people asked when Google Photos would include printing capability.

Google Photos Canvas Prints

Google offers two printing options: large canvas prints (up to 16 x 20 inches) and 4 x 6 inch same-day prints. Partnerships with Walmart Photo (a PCMag Editors’ Choice photo printing service) and CVS Photo allow for the latter option.

Unfortunately, these won’t be the cheapest photo prints, as same-day services charge a premium. Walmart prints are 25 cents each, and CVS print prices vary by location. For my test location in New York, the price was 33 cents per 4-by-6 print, the same as you would pay to order from the CVS website.

The company still offers photo book printing starting at $9.99, but the new one-to-one printing service is better suited for strapping your favorite photos to the fridge. The new wall canvas prints start at $19.99 and are available in three sizes, 8 by 8, 11 by 14, and 16 by 20 inches.

Same day photo prints and canvas prints are available from today.

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Elaine F. Brim