Google Photos

Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. It was announced in May 2015 and spun out from Google+, the company's social network.

Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. The service automatically analyzes photos, identifying various visual features and subjects. Users can search for anything in photos, with the service returning results from three major categories: People, Places, and Things. Google Photos recognizes faces, grouping similar ones together (this feature is only available in certain countries due to privacy laws); geographic landmarks (such as the Eiffel Tower); and subject matter, including birthdays, buildings, animals, food, and more.

Different forms of machine learning in the Photos service allow recognition of photo contents, automatically generate albums, animate similar photos into quick videos, surface past memories at significant times, and improve the quality of photos and videos. In May 2017, Google announced several updates to Google Photos, including reminders for and suggested sharing of photos, shared photo libraries between two users, and physical albums, with Photos automatically suggesting collections based on face, location, trip, or other distinction.

Google photos acts as a back up when photos are sent or in Google terms 'Shared'. This is just a common backup tool when photos are shared between social media or other platforms or apps.

Google Photos received critical acclaim after its decoupling from Google+ in 2015. Reviewers liked the updated Photos service for its recognition technology, search, apps, and loading times. Nevertheless, privacy concerns were raised, including Google's motivation for building the service, as well as its relationship to governments and possible laws requiring Google to hand over a user's entire photo history. Google Photos has seen strong user adoption. It reached 100 million users after five months, 200 million after one year, and 500 million as of May 2017, with Google announcing that over 1.2 billion photos are uploaded to the service every day, with the grand total of all uploaded content measuring over 13.7 petabytes of storage. For comparison, at the end of 2017 the entire Internet Archive held almost 40 petabytes.[4]

Google Photos
Google Photos icon
Initial releaseMay 28, 2015
Stable release(s) [±]
Android4.12.0.238634345 / March 18, 2019[1]
Android Daydream4.2.1.215643563 / October 1, 2018[2]
iOS4.6 / November 13, 2018[3]
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, web
TypePhoto storage and sharing


The service has apps for the Android and iOS operating systems, and a website.[5] Users back up their photos to the cloud service, which become accessible for all of their devices.[6]

The Photos service analyzes and organizes images into groups and can identify features such as beaches, skylines, or "snowstorm in Toronto".[5] From the application's search window, users are shown potential searches for groups of photos in three major categories: People, Places, and Things.[6] The service analyzes photos for similar faces and groups them together in the People category.[6] It can also track faces as they age.[5] The Places category uses geotagging data but can also determine locations in older pictures by analyzing for major landmarks (e.g., photos containing the Eiffel Tower).[6] The Things category processes photos for their subject matter: birthdays, buildings, cats, concerts, food, graduations, posters, screenshots, etc. Users can manually remove categorization errors.[6]

Recipients of shared images can view web galleries without needing to download the app.[5] Users can swipe their fingers across the screen to adjust the service's photo editing settings, as opposed to using sliders.[7] Images can be easily shared with social networks (Google+, Facebook, Twitter) and other services. The application generates web links that both Google Photos users and non-users can access.[6]


Google Photos has two storage settings: "High quality" and "Original quality". High quality includes unlimited photo and video storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution (the maximum resolutions for average smartphone users in 2015).[6] Original quality preserves the original resolution and quality of the photos and videos, but uses storage quantity in the users' Google account.[8] For the Google Pixel phones, it offers unlimited storage at Original quality for free.[9] The storage is shared with Gmail and Google Drive, it's called Google One. Up to 15 gigabytes of storage is offered for free with paid plans available from Google One.[10]


In December 2015, Google added shared albums to Google Photos. Users pool photos and videos into an album, and then share the album with other Google Photos users. The recipient "can join to add their own photos and videos, and also get notifications when new pics are added". Users can also save photos and videos from shared albums to add them to their own, private collection.[11][12][13]

In June 2016, Google updated Photos to include automatically generated albums. After an event or trip, Photos will group the best photos together and suggest creating an album with them, alongside maps to show geographic travel and location pins for exact places. Users can also add text captions to describe photos.[14][15] In October, Google announced multiple significant updates; Google Photos will now surface old memories with people identified in users' recent photos; it will occasionally highlight the best photos when a user has recently taken a lot of images of a specific subject; it will now make animations from videos as well as photos (photo animations have been present since the start), displaying the most memorable moments in videos; and it will now find all sideways photos and help the user easily flip them to normal orientation. For all of these features, Google touts machine learning does the work, with no user interaction required.[16] In November, Google released a separate app - PhotoScan - for users to scan printed photos into the service. The app, released for iOS and Android, uses a scanning process in which users must center their camera over four dots that overlay the printed image, so that the software can combine the photographs for a high resolution digital image with fewest possible defects.[17][18] Later that month, Google added a "Deep blue" slider feature that lets users change the color and saturation of skies, without degrading image quality or inadvertently changing colors of other objects or elements in photos.[19]

In February 2017, Google updated the "Albums" tab on the Android app to include three separate sections; one for the phone's camera roll, with different views for sorting options (such as people or location); another for photos taken inside other apps; and a third for the actual photo albums.[20][21] In March, Google added an automatic white balance feature to the service. The Android app and website were the first to receive the feature, with later rollout to the iOS app.[22][23] Later in March, updates to the service enabled uploading of photos in a "lightweight preview" quality for immediate viewing on slow cellular networks before a higher-quality upload later while on faster Wi-Fi. The feature also extends to sharing photos, in which a low-resolution image will be sent before being updated with a higher-quality version.[24][25] In April, Google added video stabilization. The feature creates a duplicate video to avoid overwriting the original clip.[26][27]

In May 2017, Google announced several updates to Google Photos. "Suggested Sharing" reminds users to share captured photos after the fact, and also groups photos based on faces and suggests recipients based on facial recognition. "Shared Libraries" lets two users share a central repository for all photos or specific categories of images. "Photo Books" are physical collections of photos, offered either as softcover or hardcover albums, with Photos automatically suggesting collections based on face, location, trip, or other distinction.[28][29][30] Towards the end of the month, Google introduced an "Archive" feature that lets users hide photos from the main timeline view without deleting them. Archived content still appears in relevant albums and in search.[31][32] In June, the new sharing features announced in May began rolling out to users.[33][34]

In December 2018, Google doubled the number of photos and videos users can store in a private Google Photos Live Album. The number increased from 10,000 to 20,000 photos, which is equivalent to the capacity for shared albums.[35]


Google Photos is the standalone successor to the photo features previously embedded in Google+, the company's social network.[5] Google launched the social network to compete with Facebook, but the service never became as popular and Facebook remained the Internet's preferred website for social networking and photo sharing. Google+, however, offered photo storage and organizational tools that surpassed Facebook's in power, though Google+ lacked the user base to use it.[7] By leaving the social network affiliation, the Photos service changed its association from a sharing platform to a private library platform.[6]

On February 12, 2016, Google announced that the Picasa desktop application would be discontinued on March 15, 2016, followed by the closure of the Picasa Web Albums service on May 1, 2016. Google stated that the primary reason for retiring Picasa was that it wanted to focus its efforts "entirely on a single photo service"; the cross-platform, web-based Google Photos.[36]


In October 2015, five months after the launch of the service, Google announced that Google Photos had 100 million users, who had uploaded 3.72 petabytes of photos and videos.[37][38][39]

In May 2016, one year after the release of Google Photos, Google announced the service had over 200 million monthly active users. Other statistics it revealed was at least 13.7 petabytes of photos/videos had been uploaded, 2 trillion labels had been applied (24 billion of those being selfies), and 1.6 billion animations, collages and effects had been created based on user content.[40]

In May 2017, Google announced that Google Photos has over 500 million users,[41] who upload over 1.2 billion photos every day.[42]


At the May 2015 release of Google Photos, reviewers wrote that the service was among the best of its kind.[6][43] Walt Mossberg of Recode declared the service the best in cloud photo storage, against its competition from Amazon (Amazon Drive), Apple (iCloud), Dropbox, and Microsoft (OneDrive).[6] Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge wrote that the release made Google a major competitor in the photo storage market,[5] and that its pricing structure obsoleted the idea of paying for photo storage.[7] Sarah Mitroff and Lynn La of CNET wrote that the service's phone and tablet apps were particularly good, and that Google Photos had a more streamlined design than Yahoo's Flickr and more organizing features than Apple's iCloud photo service.[43]

Kastrenakes described the service's May 2015 release as evidence that Google was spinning out the "best features" of its Google+ social network. He stated that the Photos service was "always excellent", and liked that users would be able to use the service "without signing up for a new social network".[5] Mossberg described the release as "liberation day" for the photos features that were "effectively hidden" in the "widely ignored social network".[6] The service's strategy, as described by Josh Lowensohn of The Verge, was to put all data on Google's servers so that it can be accessed universally.[7]

Mossberg liked the service's search function, writing that a search for "Massachusetts" "instantly brought up loads of photos of subjects".[6] Lowensohn noted the service's speed and intelligence, especially in its ability to sort unorganized photos, as well as its photo loading times, search speeds, and simple photo editing tools.[7] Kastrenakes compared the service's new image analysis to technology unveiled by Flickr earlier in the same month.[5] Mossberg thought the face grouping feature was "remarkably accurate", but was most impressed by the subject-based grouping. He was surprised that a search for "boats" found both Cape Cod fishing boats and Venetian gondolas, but also noted errors such as a professional photograph registering as a screenshot.[6]

PC Magazine's John C. Dvorak was concerned about the service's privacy. He was particularly concerned about Google's motivation for building the service, the company's relationships with existing governments, and potential laws that would require Google to provide a user's entire history of photos upon request. Dvorak compared such a scenario to inviting others to "scrounge through your underwear drawer". He criticized the service's sync functions, and preferred folders of images over an unsorted "flat database". Dvorak also highlighted the service's poor choice of photos to animate and lack of longevity guarantees, considering the company's abrupt cancellation of Google Reader. He ultimately suggested that users instead use a portable hard drive, which he considered safer and cheap.[44]


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External links


Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies, alongside Amazon, Apple and Facebook.Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004, and Google moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex. In August 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is Alphabet's leading subsidiary and will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet's Internet interests. Sundar Pichai was appointed CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page who became the CEO of Alphabet.

The company's rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail/Inbox), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), social networking (Google+), instant messaging and video chat (Google Allo, Duo, Hangouts), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth, Street View), video sharing (YouTube), note-taking (Google Keep), and photo organizing and editing (Google Photos). The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser. Google has moved increasingly into hardware; from 2010 to 2015, it partnered with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its Nexus devices, and it released multiple hardware products in October 2016, including the Google Pixel smartphone, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wifi mesh wireless router, and Google Daydream virtual reality headset. Google has also experimented with becoming an Internet carrier (Google Fiber, Project Fi, and Google Station) is the most visited website in the world. Several other Google services also figure in the top 100 most visited websites, including YouTube and Blogger. Google is the most valuable brand in the world as of 2017, but has received significant criticism involving issues such as privacy concerns, tax avoidance, antitrust, censorship, and search neutrality. Google's mission statement is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil" until the phrase was removed from the company's code of conduct around May 2018.

Google Cast

Google Cast, branded for consumer devices as Chromecast built-in, is a proprietary protocol developed by Google that enables mobile devices and personal computers to initiate and control playback of Internet-streamed audio/video content on a compatible device, such as a digital media player connected to a high-definition television or home audio system. The protocol was first launched on July 24, 2013, to support Google's first-generation Chromecast player. The Google Cast SDK was released on February 3, 2014, allowing third parties to modify their software to support the protocol. According to Google, over 20,000 Google Cast-ready apps were available as of May 2015. Google Cast would later be built into the Nexus Player and other Android TV devices (such as televisions), as well as soundbars, speakers, and subsequent Chromecast players. As of October 2017, over 55 million Chromecasts and Chromecast built-in devices have been sold.

Google Drive

Google Drive is a file storage and synchronization service developed by Google. Launched on April 24, 2012, Google Drive allows users to store files on their servers, synchronize files across devices, and share files. In addition to a website, Google Drive offers apps with offline capabilities for Windows and macOS computers, and Android and iOS smartphones and tablets. Google Drive encompasses Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, an office suite that permits collaborative editing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, forms, and more. Files created and edited through the office suite are saved in Google Drive.

Google Drive offers users with 15 gigabytes of free storage through Google One. Google One also offers 100 gigabytes, 200 gigabytes, 2 terabytes, 10 terabytes, 20 terabytes, and 30 terabytes offered through optional paid plans. Files uploaded can be up to 5 terabytes in size. Users can change privacy settings for individual files and folders, including enabling sharing with other users or making content public. On the website, users can search for an image by describing its visuals, and use natural language to find specific files, such as "find my budget spreadsheet from last December".

The website and Android app offer a Backups section to see what Android devices have data backed up to the service, and a completely overhauled computer app released in July 2017 allows for backing up specific folders on the user's computer. A Quick Access feature can intelligently predict the files users need.

Google Drive is a key component of G Suite, Google's monthly subscription offering for businesses and organizations. As part of select G Suite plans, Drive offers unlimited storage, advanced file audit reporting, enhanced administration controls, and greater collaboration tools for teams.

Following the launch of the service, Google Drive privacy policy was heavily criticized by some members of the media. Google has one set of Terms of Service and Privacy Policy agreements that cover all of its services, meaning that the language in the agreements grants the company broad rights to reproduce, use, and create derivative works from content stored on Google Drive. While the policies also confirm that users retain intellectual property rights, privacy advocates raised concerns that the licenses grant Google the rights to use the information and data to customize advertising and other services Google provides. In contrast, other members of the media noted that the agreements were no worse than those of competing cloud storage services, but that the competition uses "more artful language" in the agreements, and also stated that Google needs the rights in order to "move files around on its servers, cache your data, or make image thumbnails".

As of March 2017, Google Drive has 800 million active users, and as of September 2015, it has over one million organizational paying users. As of May 2017, there are over two trillion files stored on the service.

Google Goggles

Google Goggles was an image recognition mobile app developed by Google. It was used for searches based on pictures taken by handheld devices. For example, taking a picture of a famous landmark searches for information about it, or taking a picture of a product's barcode would search for information on the product.

Google Lens

Google Lens is an image recognition mobile app developed by Google. First announced during Google I/O 2017, it is designed to bring up relevant information using visual analysis.

Google One

Google One is a subscription service developed by Google that offers expanded cloud storage and other benefits, and is intended for the consumer market. Every Google Account starts with 15 gigabytes of free storage that is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. Google One paid plans offer cloud storage starting at 100 gigabytes, up to a maximum of 30 terabytes. Google One replaced the paid services of Google Drive to emphasize the fact that the program is used by multiple of Google's services. The program's raw storage is not accessible by users, but files, pictures and emails can be added and removed through Google Drive, Google Photos and Gmail.

Google Takeout

Google Takeout (Google Takeaway in some languages, on the site itself called "Download your data") is a project by the Google Data Liberation Front that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail, to export their data to a downloadable archive file.

Google mobile services

Google Mobile Services (GMS) is not a part of Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Which means an Android manufacturer needs to obtain license from Google in order to get a right to install GMS on an Android device. License is provided by Google without any license fee.

GMS consist of two parts; popular bundle package and other bundle package. In order to gain a license for GMS, popular bundle package need to be preinstalled by Android device manufactures, usually called pre-loaded apps.

List of Google apps for Android

The list of Google apps for Android lists the mobile apps developed by Google for its Android operating system. All of these apps are available for free from the Google Play Store, although some may not show up in search results if they are listed as incompatible with your device (even though they may still function from an *.apk). Some of Google's apps may be pre-installed on some devices, depending upon the device manufacturer and the version of Android. A few of these apps, such as Gboard, are not supported on older versions of Android.

List of Google products

The following is a list of products and services provided by Google.

List of mergers and acquisitions by Alphabet

Google is a computer software and a web search engine company that acquired, on average, more than one company per week in 2010 and 2011. The table below is an incomplete list of acquisitions, with each acquisition listed being for the respective company in its entirety, unless otherwise specified. The acquisition date listed is the date of the agreement between Google and the acquisition subject. As Google is headquartered in the United States, acquisition is listed in US dollars. If the price of an acquisition is unlisted, then it is undisclosed. If the Google service that is derived from the acquired company is known, then it is also listed here. Google itself was re-organized into a subsidiary of a larger holding company known as Alphabet Inc. in 2015.

As of December 2016, Alphabet has acquired over 200 companies, with its largest acquisition being the purchase of Motorola Mobility, a mobile device manufacturing company, for $12.5 billion. Most of the firms acquired by Google are based in the United States, and, in turn, most of these are based in or around the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, Alphabet has divested itself of four business units: Frommers, which was sold back to Arthur Frommer in April 2012; SketchUp, which was sold to Trimble in April 2012, Boston Dynamics in early 2016 and Google Radio Automation, which was sold to WideOrbit in 2009.Many Google products originated as services provided by companies that Google has since acquired. For example, Google's first acquisition was the Usenet company Deja News, and its services became Google Groups. Similarly, Google acquired Dodgeball, a social networking service company, and eventually replaced it with Google Latitude. Other acquisitions include web application company JotSpot, which became Google Sites; Voice over IP company GrandCentral, which became Google Voice; and video hosting service company Next New Networks, which became YouTube Next Lab and Audience Development Group. CEO Larry Page has explained that potential acquisition candidates must pass a sort of "toothbrush test": Are their products potentially useful once or twice a day, and do they improve your life?Following the acquisition of Israel-based startup Waze in June 2013, Google submitted a 10-Q filing with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that revealed that the corporation spent $1.3 billion on acquisitions during the first half of 2013, with $966 million of that total going to Waze.


The petabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix peta indicates the fifth power of 1000 and means 1015 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore 1 petabyte is one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1 billiard (long scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the petabyte is PB.

1 PB = 1000000000000000B = 1015bytes = 1000terabytes.

A related unit, the pebibyte (PiB), using a binary prefix, is equal to 10245 bytes, which is more than 12% greater (250 bytes = 1125899906842624bytes).

One thousand petabytes (1000 PB) is equal to one exabyte (1 EB).


Picasa is a discontinued image organizer and image viewer for organizing and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo-sharing website, originally created by a company named Lifescape (which at that time was incubated by Idealab) in 2002. In July 2004, Google acquired Picasa from Lifescape and began offering it as freeware. "Picasa" is a blend of the name of Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, the phrase mi casa (Spanish for "my house") and "pic" for pictures.Native applications for Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X (Intel only) were available from Google. For Linux, Google bundled Wine with the Windows version to create an installation package. For Mac OS X 10.4 and later, Google also released an iPhoto plugin and a standalone program for uploading photos.

On February 12, 2016, Google announced it was discontinuing support for Picasa Desktop and Web Albums, effective March 15, 2016, and focusing on the cloud-based Google Photos as its successor. Picasa Web Albums, a companion service, was closed on May 1, 2016.

Picasa Web Albums

Picasa Web Albums (PWA) was an image hosting and sharing web service from Google, often compared to Flickr and similar sites. The service links with Google's photo organizing desktop program Picasa. It was discontinued in May 2016 and succeeded by Google Photos which does not support sharing photo albums on the public world wide web.

It allowed users with a Google account to store and share photos in public albums with an initial free storage offering of 15 GB, that is shared with Gmail and Google Drive. Storage was unlimited for photos of resolution less than 2048x2048 pixels for Google+ users, and for photos of resolution less than 800x800 for everyone else. Videos shorter than 15 minutes also don't count towards the limit. Once the storage is full, uploaded photos are automatically resized to fit the resolution for unlimited storage.

On February 12, 2016, Google announced that the service as well as the application will be discontinued on May 1, 2016 and March 15, 2016, respectively. Existing users of the application will still be able to use the application. Existing users of the service were advised to use Google Photos, which already stores the photos in Picasa Web Albums and is a new place for viewing, downloading and deleting (but not editing or organizing) the albums along with their meta-data will be created in the future.

Pixel (smartphone)

Pixel and Pixel XL are Android smartphones designed, developed and marketed by Google. They were announced during a press event on October 4, 2016, and serve as the first smartphones in the Google Pixel hardware line, succeeding the Nexus line of smartphones. On October 4, 2017, they were succeeded by the second-generation Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixels have an aluminium chassis, with a glass panel on the rear, a USB-C connector, 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a 12.3 megapixel rear-facing camera. At launch, the devices featured certain exclusive software features, including the 7.1 "Nougat" update to the Android operating system, integration with the Google Assistant intelligent personal assistant, live technical support services, and unlimited full-resolution Google Photos backup for the life of the device.

The Pixels received mixed reviews. They were called "the best Android phones you can buy" and received praise for camera quality and performance. However, they were criticised for their high prices and lack of waterproofing, and some critics noted design similarities to Apple's iPhone. The Pixels have suffered from a variety of issues after release, including excessive optical lens flare in pictures captured through the rear camera, connectivity issues with some mobile data bands, unstable Bluetooth connections, unexpected battery shutdowns, and failing microphones. Google has acknowledged and released fixes for most of the issues.


TensorFlow is a free and open-source software library for dataflow and differentiable programming across a range of tasks. It is a symbolic math library, and is also used for machine learning applications such as neural networks. It is used for both research and production at Google.‍   It is a standard expectation in the industry to have experience in TensorFlow to work in machine learning.TensorFlow was developed by the Google Brain team for internal Google use. It was released under the Apache 2.0 open-source license on November 9, 2015.

Tensor processing unit

A tensor processing unit (TPU) is an AI accelerator application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) developed by Google specifically for neural network machine learning.

Video editing

Video editing is the manipulation and arrangement of video shots. Video editing is used to structure and present all video information, including films and television shows, video advertisements and video essays. Video editing has been dramatically democratized in recent years by editing software available for personal computers.


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