Google's upcoming new Photos app isn't announced yet, but a report about an early version of the app has surfaced and it gives us an exclusive look at what Google is working on.
The Photos app for Android, which is likely to be followed by a Photos app for iOS, is getting a huge makeover from its maker. Aside from being all decked out in the bright and bold colors of Material design, Photos has a number of new central features that are not in the old app.
Sharing, for instance, becomes an important part of the new app. Android Police says users will be able to share photos, videos and albums with others via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email, SMS or any other method by sharing the links to their photos. They can do this by selecting the photo they want to share, opening the menu and tapping Get link. Other users can then view the shared items by opening the link without having to download the photos or videos to their preferred services.
This will be accompanied by a number of privacy features, such as the ability to remove geolocation information from photos that are shared via links. Users will also have access to a list of all the links they have shared via Shared Links and be able to delete the links they want to get rid of, thus removing all links to any items they have previously shared.
Google has been hinting at a new Photos app for a long time. Back in March 2014, Google senior vice president for products Sundar Pichai announced that Photos is "a big use case" and Google will be focusing on creating a better user experience with the app, which replaced the Gallery app for stock Android.
Photos has always been linked to Google+, which makes it easy for users to share photos via Google's own platform but elicits a bit more effort when sharing through other services. Also, since both apps are tied together, it is a little difficult to navigate through either app without somehow ending up in the other app, even when that is not the user's intention.
The new Photos app appears simpler and easier to use. Upon startup, the app shows Google's pinwheel animation and takes users through animated illustrations and an option to back up the app. Users can then view their photos in several different modes, such as viewing by day, by month or through "comfortable view," which arranges photos by day in a staggered grid.
Google gets rid of Autoawesome and replaces it with a similar feature called Assistant, which automatically creates stories and animations and lets users create their own movies, albums, GIFs and collages. Editing also gets a little better on the new app; aside from the filters and adjustments already in the old app, the cropping interface now adjusts to various aspect ratios and includes a rotation tool.
Right now, Photos can be accessed on the web via plus.google.com/photos, but the new app will link users straight to photos.google.com.