As promised, Google has introduced shared albums to Google Photos, allowing groups of people to contribute to a single album. Whether it’s focused on a particular event or party, anyone can join an album, whereupon photos can then be added ad infinitum. It not only allows you to easily share photos from a certain day—Thanksgiving, for example—but it allows users to see events from multiple perspectives.
The great thing about Google’s implementation is that it will sync across Android, iOS and the Web, so it doesn’t matter what device you have. (That’s a lot different from Apple’s photo stream feature.) As you can see in the video above, setting up a shared album is super easy to do; just highlight a group of photos, hit the share button, and there will be a new option for “New shared album.” Once you send that along to a person or group of people, they’ll have the option to join.
If you already use Google Photos as your go-to backup solution, today’s update gives you yet another reason to put your images on Google’s servers. Not only that, but with a collaboration tool, it’ll likely encourage family and friends who don’t use Google Photos to try it out. And, rest assured, Google says that shared albums are completely private. I already plan on setting up a shared album between me and my girlfriend for my dog.
As The Verge points out, while sharing albums with friends and family is easy, it still lacks some features. For example, you can’t caption, comment, or like images, though Google said that’s something that would be available down the road. Meanwhile, shared albums will organize photos based on when they were taken, not when they were added, which might make things confusing when you’re scrubbing through an album trying to find photos a buddy just added.
The shared albums update should begin rolling out later today to iOS, Android and the Web.