Google is making it much easier for iOS and Android users to share photos with family and friends. When announcing the new features on Wednesday, Anil Sabharwal, who assists in running Google products, also said that Google’s photo app had hit half a billion monthly active users.

Google, Photos App, iOS, sharing
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New sharing features for Photos App

Google’s photos app gets a “Suggested Sharing” feature, which uses software to recommend pictures to share and with whom to share them. The feature, in general, makes recommendations based on those who are present in the picture and those the user tends to communicate with in Gmail and in the Photos app.

Another new feature is Shared Libraries. It allows users to set up automatic sharing of photos which start at a certain date with one chosen contact or which feature certain people.

During an onstage demo, Sabharwal also showed how the new features work. A notification pops up shortly after the user takes a picture. The notification says something like, “5 new photos with Meghan, David and Jason. Share with them?” To share their pictures automatically, the user can respond to this alert.

Google Photos will also send an SMS notification to people who do not have the app. The company says that the user can see their sharing activities and suggestions in a new Sharing tab as well. The sharing tab and Shared Libraries will roll out on iOS, web and Android in the coming weeks.

How the tech works

Google is using artificial intelligence and its smart image search to recognize people in photos and then automatically suggest them to be shared with the identified contact. Google’s computer vision technology works flawlessly in these features and identifies the right faces for sending photos, according to Recode.

There could be problems with the feature, like suggesting that you send photos to people who are in group photos but you do not want to send pictures to. Google Photos Product Lead David Lieb, who handles design and product management for the app said that for such users, there is an option to turn off facial recognition and prevent names from automatically appearing in the “Suggested Share field.” There is also a feature that lets you share photos with specific users.

Other announcements at Google I/O

The new features were announced at Google’s annual Google I/O developer conference at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. New features for its Android O and virtual assistant were announced as well.

The search giant also rolled out an update which seemed out of place to its Photos app for iOS users. Google added Mother’s Day movie-making feature to the iOS app with an update on Wednesday. However, the search giant forgot that the Mother’s Day was on May 14.