I’ve fallen in love with Google Photos

Google PhotosI’ve been a Pro user of Flickr for 10 years but have not felt compelled to upload anything there for years, despite even the most recent redesign. I never visit it, and most of my friends are either not posting/commenting there anymore or are simply not users. The last few years, I’ve kept paying as a backup of sorts but will not renew my subscription come March.

These days, I take most of my pics on an iPhone, upload a few a week to Instagram, dump the rest in Apple Photos and have all of them backed up automagically to DropBox daily.

A few month back, I got excited by Carousel but then DropBox killed it. I tried Google Photos and after a rocky start, I fell in love.

What do I want?

Let’s be honest, I can’t be bothered to create albums for each life event like I used to, but that’s OK cos Google Photos does that. It also keeps my pics private by default, recognises people in my photos without me having to lift a finger, and well, recognises pretty much anything in my pics so I don’t have to tag them. Oh, and it lives in the cloud and doesn’t care what device I’m on. Bliss. The future, here, now.

People at the center of search

I really fell in love with it once I realised I could search for anything in my pics and it would magically find it.
Show me pics of food. Easy. Trees? OK. Legos?! Done! Pics of… shelves? Wow. How about a house on a mountain? Damn. Then, me and my wife in Thailand, my son and his friend in a car, my wife and son in front of a tree. Google Photos is a ridiculously motivated doggy that never gets tired of playing with you. I love it.
I have spent the last few weeks dropping awesome pics from past holidays / group selfies / portraits inside chats with friends. It’s totally natural and makes your chats so much more emotional: sharing a portrait of your brother from 10 years ago with a squirrel on his arm for his birthday vs. some random birthday-themed gif.
 Google Photos already knows how to build tear-jerking videos of the first few years of our son’s life out of simple photos so what else, if anything, can we still expect from it?

Wishlist for future updates

  • Turn people folders into smart folders that can be shared with specific people (ex: share all pics featuring our son with my wife and close family)
  • My wife and I can merge our photo collections while retaining separate accounts. She has a ton of pics of our holidays or our son that I have probably never seen.
  • A contextually-aware photo-sharing library disguised as a custom iOS keyboard to drop awesome pics in any of my chat apps.
  • Surprise me with context-rich content. Notice I’ve been to the mountains recently? Show me pics I took close by a few years back. Notice I went to my son’s sports event yesterday, surprise me with some other great sports moments with my son from a few years back (or me at his age playing sports) and offer to share it with his grandparents.
  • I take a lot of screenshots of my pokemons, why can’t I search for them!
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  • Aka.me

    Based in Paris & Tokyo, Paul Baron is a senior product manager for hire. Ex-@AQworks. Co-founder of cultural platform Tokyo Art Beat.
    Service design, interaction design, startups, user research.
    Posts a few times a decade since 2003.

    Visit Aka.me for the full site.

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