So long, Google+ Photos, and a big hello to Google Photos. What's the difference, besides the missing plus sign? Plenty, as it turns out.
For those who need a recap: On August 1, Google+ Photos, the photo storage and sharing service that's integrated into the Google+ social network, started a slow fade. Replacing it is Google Photos, a revamped, standalone photo service that comes with a pair of apps: one for Android, another for iOS.
What this means for Android and iOS users is that there's a new way to use Google to store, share, view and edit your precious pictures (and yes, your Google+ Photos will automatically appear in the Google Photos app), as well as new apps to learn. The good news is that the Google Photos app is clever, easy to use (much easier than the confusing iOS Photos app, if you ask me), and loaded with some powerful features.
Yes, you'll be able to back up your photo albums just as before (an automated Assistant will take care of that once you fire up the app), and you'll still be able to crop, add filters, and share your pictures on your favorite social network. But the new Google Photos app will also let you create instant photo collages, pinch the screen for a bird's-eye view of your snapshots, tap and drag to select batches of images, and more.
Read on for six ways that the new Google Photos app can help you capture the moment, starting with...
1. Search for anything in your photos
Sure, many photo-management apps let you search your pictures by location, face or tags (although how many of us really take the time to tag all our photos?). Google Photos takes the concept a step further, letting you search your photo albums for...well, almost anything in the picture. Just tap the floating blue Search button (it's the one with the magnifying glass icon) to get started.
A search on "boats," for example, pulled up snapshots from a fishing trip my wife and I took a few years back. Searching for "train" popped up pictures from a train museum that I took my three-year-old to last winter. And speaking of my daughter, "smile" found dozens of photos of my little girl beaming happily.
Google Photo's search capabilities are still very much a work in progress. For example, my "train" search gave me hits for just one picture from our train museum trip, skipping photos of my daughter holding Thomas the Tank Engine, while my "boats" came up with snapshots of my little one sliding down a red slide ... which, perhaps, looks like a boat?
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