Before Google+ and Google Photos, Picasa was Google's photo sharing and management product. You may not be aware, but it has continued to exist all this time—well, languish may actually be a better term. There have been no improvements to Picasa lately, and now Google is closing it down.
This week's updates are rolling out and Google Maps is among the first to bring something new to the screen. Version 9.20 doesn't seem to have any huge features, but there are some very notable improvements. A shortcut has been added to the Timeline to allow for quickly adding a place to your history, there's now a setting to control whether turn-by-turn instructions are given during voice calls, and Maps will now pair your reviews with any pictures you've submitted.
It's Update Wednesday and Google has been rolling out the updates pretty steadily all morning. Most of them aren't packing much beyond bug fixes, but Photos did get an update to v1.13 with at least one cool little feature. The search results screen now provides a quick way to see photos taken on the same day alongside the regular results, even if they aren't related otherwise. We've got a couple variants of the latest apk linked at the bottom, and more are sure to come shortly.
The Google Photos app had some cool sharing features when it was released back in May, but now it's getting even better at sharing. Google has announced the addition of shared albums to Photos (announced a few months ago), and it's available today on Android, iOS, and web.
Adobe has a complicated relationship with Android. Most of its apps come to our beloved platform long after they've launched on iOS, and the updates tend to be slower to arrive thereafter. Keeping that in mind, Lightroom got a big update on iOS back in October that removed the requirement for a paid Creative Cloud subscription. Now Android is getting the same. As of today, Lightroom is free on Android.
The Photos app saw a small bump to v1.10 yesterday (and a tiny bug fix today), but it seems most people will be hard pressed to find much in the way of changes. However, there seems to be one interesting feature popping up for a very small number of users. If the right circumstances are met, users will have an option to create a tiny floating shortcut to the Photos app over the screen of their camera apps. Yeah, it sounds pretty weird, but it would be useful for apps that don't offer a shortcut of their own.
Google gives you a choice when you back up your images to Google Photos: do you save them at their original size or do you let Google store a compressed "high quality" version? The former counts against your storage space, while the latter doesn't. Unfortunately when you choose one, you're kind of stuck with the decision. You can opt to change how you save future photos, but you can't go back to compress those shots you previously saved at their original quality.
This is about to change. Tomorrow, Google will introduce the option to downgrade those previously uploaded images.
Google announced yesterday on their Lat Long Blog that the Local Guides program would be receiving one of the largest updates since its inception. Local Guides is a global community of people who love to contribute to Google Maps. These contributions come in the form of writing reviews, uploading photos, adding new places, answering questions, and fixing data about businesses. Millions of people around the world rely on information in Google Maps every day to navigate to their destination or choose where they want to eat dinner, so having more information at their disposal can only be a good thing. Becoming a Local Guide is as easy as visiting this sign-up page.
The Galaxy View is Samsung's biggest tablet, and the company is positioning it as a sort of all-purpose, general-use device for an entire household rather than a conventional mobile device. To that end they've released another exclusive app for the 18.4-inch tablet, Family Square. According to the description in the Play Store, it's meant to be a digital bulletin board, allowing multiple users to post photos to the app which are then displayed on the screen.
The setup is... unique. Instead of simply pulling photos from Facebook or Google+ accounts, Family Square needs to connect to individual phones, presumably over the local Wi-Fi network.
Google held a press event last month and talked about a few of the interesting new features planned for the Photos app. We're still waiting for collaborative albums to be turned on, but we've already seen other features come to life, like Chromecast support and setting labels for matched faces. This version doesn't appear to unlock collaborative albums – that may be waiting for a server-side switch – but it does add another feature to the facial matching feature: the ability to hide somebody.