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Google Photos takes on Facebook Moments with improvements to shared albums

TechCrunch TechCrunch 11/05/2016 Sarah Perez

Following Facebook Moments’ expansion to the E.U. and Canada earlier this week, Google is launching new features on its own photo-sharing service, Google Photos, aimed at making its app both more competitive with Moments and more social. The company is adding support for both commenting and “suggested additions.” This latter feature makes it easier for users to add their photos to a shared album they’ve received from a friend, explains Google.

The way this works is that Google Photos will now make “smart suggestions” where it prompts the user to add the right photos to the album. It determines what those photos should be based on factors like time and place. (Unlike Moments, it doesn’t use facial recognition, however.)

This makes it simpler to add photos – especially if you’re viewing the album longer after the event has wrapped. You’ll no longer need to scroll back through your uploads or search for the photos you want to share with friends. Instead, you’ll just be able to quickly add the suggested photos.

This feature will bring Google’s Shared Albums a bit more on par with Facebook Moments, the social network’s private photo-sharing app.

The goal with both products is to allow different users who took photos at the same time and location to combine their photos into a single album. On Moments, Facebook looks at photos’ date, time, location, and, in most markets, uses facial recognition to figure out who’s in the photos. It automatically suggests which photos you share with friends when you launch its app.

Meanwhile, users create shared albums on Google Photos instead of waiting to be told who to send a group of photos to. Once this album has been created, you can share the link to the album with anyone whose photos you want to be included in it. Users with access to shared albums can also save photos to their own libraries with a tap.

The second new feature is comments in shared albums. Now users can comment on both the photos themselves and on the album, which makes these albums feel more social.

Commenting is rolling out after 10 AM PT today on Android, iOS, and web. Suggested additions actually rolled out yesterday, but is only now being publicly announced.

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