Top 4 Google Photos announcements from I/O 2017

The new features will certainly be helpful for loyal users, but they also exist to help you to spread the word on what Google Photos can do.

Google has more than half a billion active users uploading over a billion image files to Google Photos daily, so it’s no surprise that the company is doubling down on what’s turning out to be a successful photo-sharing platform.

At Google I/O 2017, the company announced a host of new features coming to the feature-filled photo sharing service. Here’s a quick jaunt through what’s new with Google Photos, as well as some of the new features that are coming later this summer.

Watch Google’s explainer on what’s new with Google Photos.

Suggested sharing

You’re using Google Photos to store your photos, so naturally Google wants you to share them with other people. Suggested sharing uses machine learning to actively suggestion who to share a picture with. If your friend Brad is in the photo, for instance, Google Photos will suggest that you send the photo to him so that he knows how silly he looked at the pool party last Saturday. Additionally, Google’s machine learning will give Brad suggestions when he sees this photo, so that he can share it with anyone else who might be interested.

You can invite anyone to see a photo, even if they don’t have the Google Photos app installed. iPhone users, for instance, will receive a notification with a link to the photo, and be invited to add others to share the photo with, too. It’s a share-share situation!

Shared libraries

Google Photos’ Anil Sabharwal shows the crowd at Google I/O 2017 what Shared Libraries are all about.

Got a giant extended family? That’s fine; now you can share an entire photo library with them all so that anyone can share photos of each other whenever there’s occasion to. Shared Libraries work akin to shared photo albums, though they’ll stay integrated in your own camera roll. You’ll be able to search through those pictures without having to navigate to a particular photo album, too, and with the machine learning engine working behind the scenes in Google Photos, any extra, non-interesting photos you snap won’t be filed in there.

Google Lens

Google Lens is coming soon, and it’s going to add more functionality to Google Photos.

The Google Lens features aren’t ready for Google Photos yet, but the machine learning engine is coming later this summer. Google Lens will be able to understand what’s in an image, identify what you’re looking at, and help you edit photos on the fly. It’ll even get rid of obstructions in an image — in the event you actually catch your finger ruining an an otherwise amazing photo, for example.

Photo Books

You can order a Photo Book now from Google Photos.

Photo books are a major thing for many families, and they’re especially helpful if you just want to show a number of choices photos from your last trip, for example. Google Photos will be able to identify the best photos you’ve taken from any album and curate it into a worth-to-share picture book.

A 7-inch softcover will cost $9.99, while the hardcover version will cost $19.99. The books are 20 pages by defaults and features 40 of the best photos. Additional pages will cost $0.35 in the softcover, and $0.65 on hardcover. Photo Books are available now for Google Photos on the web and will come to iOS and Android soon.

The easiest-to-use photo app

The latest announcements for Google Photos should be no surprise if you’ve been utilizing the service since its major revamp two years back, particularly with regards to its machine learning capabilities. Shared Libraries are also merely evolutions of a sharing feature that’s already existed — you’ve been able to share individual photos and albums before, but now it’s more inviting to those who may not be privy to the Photos’ existence.

It’s obvious Google is committed to making its photo-storage service soar, which is why it’s intent on getting the word out on its usefulness. These features have been added to encourage its veteran users to share photos while inspiring the uninitiated to switch to the service and take advantage of what it can do.

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Google’s ‘Find My Device’ app is the next-gen Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager is now Find My Device, and it has a few new features to keep it useful and relevant.

One of the less publicized announcements at Google I/O was the rebranding of the popular Android Device Manager — the app that allows you to find or reset a lost or stolen phone — to Find My Device, with a new design and some additional features.

The fundamentals of the app haven’t changed — you still use it to look up the current location, or last GPS location, of any Android device associated with that particular Google account. But the app looks new, with a nice dose of Material Design, and the ability to check the battery and Wi-Fi status if the phone is searchable.

If the phone isn’t accessible to Find My Device, it shows the last known location, which could prove incredibly useful when searching for a phone that’s been stolen or lost under the proverbial seat cushion.

Find your phone: the ultimate guide to Android Device Manager

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Kodi 18 Leia: What you need to know about the next version of Kodi for Android

Everything you need to know about the next version of Kodi that’s heading to Android.

Kodi 17.1 “Krypton” is the current release that’s available through the Google Play Store, but work on next version of the popular media server software is already well underway. In a break from the normal routine of choosing names within the community, Kodi 18 will be known as “Leia,” in honor of everyone’s favorite princess who sadly left us.

It hurts our hearts to have lost a great woman and actress and, with her, the character she portrayed, the princess we grew up with. It feels fitting, then, to announce that Kodi 18 will be named ‘Leia’ in honor of the late Carrie Fisher, as a tribute to one of the characters that defined an industry, and as a celebration of the whole Star Wars universe.

It’s still early days right now, and there’s not a massive amount to talk about regarding Kodi 18. But here’s what we do know so far. And as updates become available, we’ll keep this guide updated, so be sure to slap it into your bookmarks.

When will Kodi 18 Leia be available?

There isn’t an official release date for the final stable release, but early builds are already available!

What’s new?

It’s still in development, so the final feature list isn’t publicly revealed. It’s still in the early stages, too, so there’s not a lot immediately obvious that has changed. The best place to keep tabs on new features is the Kodi 18 Leia changelog on the official Kodi Wiki.

Kodi 18 Leia changelog

Anything cool for Android been announced yet?

Absolutely! One of the headline features for Android TV is integration with voice search and recommendations. Just as you see from other media sources, Kodi will be able to suggest content for you along the top of your Android TV home screen.

Voice search is a pretty big deal, as it gives you the same freedom as you already have to search other media apps on your Android TV. If you’re using Kodi seriously and you’ve a lot of media in there, this could make your experience so much better. Additionally, voice to text typing will be available, since using a remote with the on-screen keyboard can be a royal pain!

Can I try it yet?

Absolutely! If you’re OK with being on the bleeding edge and dealing with bugs, you can already get the latest nightly builds for version 18. The Android TV specific features mentioned above are already available to try in the Leia nightly builds.

Hit the link below to get started.

Download Kodi 18 Leia nightly builds

Do I need to uninstall Kodi 17 to try the new nightly builds?

No. If you’re using Kodi 17 already the nightly installer will place the new version alongside it.

Is it good enough for my main build right now?

No, you should stick with the release version of Kodi 17. Leia is still a long way off, and lots of things don’t work properly. It’s definitely only suitable for experimenting with as a separate build.

Does it look any different?

It does not. The stock skin was updated from Kodi 16 to Kodi 17, from the old “Confluence” skin to the new, more modern looking “Estuary.” There’s nothing to suggest that will change for version 18, but you can always install your own skins anyway. Making it your own is easy, so go nuts!

Where can I find out more?

New features are being discussed, and the developers are highlighting them to the community through “dev journals.” Those will be posted on the official Kodi blog covering all the various platforms that Kodi is available on.


There’s still much development to happen, and much new hotness to be revealed, and that will happen all in good time. If you have questions, drop them into the comments below. Hopefully, we can help with some answers.

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