In Short

After a variety of different photo strategies — including Picasa and Google+ Photos — Google has gone strongly into one centralized photo service, simply called Google Photos. The service is focused on making your photos available anywhere you want them and easily searchable, leveraging Google's expertise in cloud computing and storage.

[custom:choice-awards]Google Photos by default — and with no fees — offers unlimited photo storage at resolutions up to 16MP, no matter how you get the pictures onto the service. You can also choose to upload full-resolution photos that count against your Google Drive storage, if you wish to preserve every last pixel of quality when you upload.

And Google is hoping you'll upload every photo you take, because if you choose to do so it can offer you some great features. With all of the photos on Google's servers, you get fantastic search and image recognition that lets you find things in photos without any tagging or work on your part — simply type in the name of a place, a landmark, someone's name or an object, and you'll see every photo Google can identify based on that. And because it's all cloud-based, you don't have to have the photos stored locally in order to search all of them.

On September 29, 2015, Google announced even more features being added to Google Photos: Shared albums, labels for photos (for better search), and Chromecast support.

  • Shared albums, which allows users to share photo albums where they can each add items to the same album, and also receive notifications when another user adds photos to the album.
  • Labels within photos allows you to better perform search actions, but giving you the ability to narrow down exactly what you're looking for. The labels remain private for your eyes only, and give much better refinement to your searches within Google Photos.
  • Chromecast support, where you can now easily cast your photos and videos to Chromecast. While not mirroring your device, casting your photos lets you search for images or scroll through galleries without showing your actions on Chromecast.

The photo service is available on Android, iOS and a full-featured website. Any changes you make to albums or individual photos on one device is instantly available on other devices, which is another big bonus to having photos all stored in the cloud.

For all of the latest news, help and how-to's on Google Photos, this is the place to be!