Google has modernized life in many ways, but now they want to help users go back to a time when sharing photos was something more than posting a status update.
The massive technology company announced the launch of their photo books in Canada today, allowing customers to easily find and select photos to turn into a physical book that will then be shipped to them. It’s an easy way to take all of the digital shots almost everyone has stored through Google Photos and turn them into a gift, keepsake or just something to put on the coffee table.
Putting together an entire photo book from scratch can be a rigorous challenge—first collecting the photos, then making sure they’re good quality, then arranging, printing and mounting them can be tiresome. Google does all the work by using machine learning to recognize and sort photos ahead of time into a ready-to-view package.
“Not a lot of people are physically making photo books because it takes forever,” said Aravind Krishnaswamy, engineering director of Google Photos. “We just come in there and help make it easy so this physical form of sharing becomes relevant again.”
Say a couple wants to make a photo book of all the the trips they have been on together. Simply put in the two names that the photo book will feature, and Google’s search function will sort through all the photos of those two people together. It will even go back years, as it can recognize photos from youth.
Quality can be an issue when it comes to photos taken with a phone. Photo books will flag any questionable photos and let the user know that it may not look great when printed—the user can still include it if they want, but it’s up to them to go through the final version before ordering and make the changes.
Google will even suggest photo books for a user. Maybe an entire album’s worth of photos from a trip to Florida was just uploaded—photo books will take those photos and arrange them into a book for the user to browse through.
Physical photos are somewhat of a forgotten art form, as most people store everything on phones, computers or the cloud. Google is trying to combine both the analog and the digital by using their algorithms to bring physical photo sharing back into the mainstream.
“A lot of photography has moved to mobile and a lot of sharing is done digitally, but I don’t think the desire for hard copies has gone away,” said Krishnaswamy. “It’s not a case of the need—it’s just that we’ve become very used to and focused on the digital and we’ve just forgotten. We’re just trying to help people share their photos, regardless of how they do it.”
Photo books launched today in both English and French and can be created on the web, starting at $17.99 for a 20-page softcover book and $27.99 for a hardcover book. Users can check the feature out without having to pay anything. Photo books will come soon to mobile devices.