But if you have 100,000 photos — or even 10,000 photos, as I do — there’s only so much value in a bird’s-eye view. Google recognized that problem, and set out to develop a sorting system that reflects how people identify and organize photo collections in their own minds. “We went around and did surveys with people and said, describe to me your last 10 photos just in words,” Lieb says. “We’d close our eyes and listen.” It turns out most people describe photos in four categories: who’s in it, where it was taken, what’s in it, and what type of image it is: a video, a panorama, and so on.
Tap Google’s familiar magnifying glass icon inside Photos, then, and that’s what you’ll see: there are the faces that appear most often in your photos, ranked by frequency. There are places where you’ve shot the bulk of your pictures and videos. There’s a personalized list of things you like to photograph — concerts, food, and dogs, in my case. And, finally, there’s access to your videos and to what Google calls “creations” — algorithmically generated animations, collages, photo albums, and video montages.
I’ve been using Google Photos since it came out and I love it for one feature: unlimited storage. All of the photos I take with my camera (a Canon DSLR) go onto a networked hard drive, since the images it puts out average 20-30 megabytes each. But everything I take with my phone? Straight into Google Photos.
A nice touch in the UI is the ‘press-and-hold to select’ mechanic – it’s a very effective design, and I’m quite excited to see what the Photos team does with access to 3D Touch.1
- Now I just have to find a friend who’s getting the new iPhone and who won’t mind me looking through their photos so I can play with a photo app… ↩