Google Photos Provides a Friendly Reminder That Google Owns You

By Alex Cranz on at

Google is in the business of you. That’s why it exists. Its phones, Homes, and wireless routers all exist to cull as much information about you as possible so that it can then use that info for (hopefully not evil) financial gain. If you have forgotten that Google exists to collate your entire life, then Google pointedly reminded you today with some new features for Google Photos. It introduced two new features to the Google Photos app that instantly makes it more obnoxious and more present in your life.

First it reminds you to share your photos, then it tries to help you share them. Please stop trying to make us share.

This first feature is Google Suggested Sharing. You know that irritating feature in Facebook that helpfully, constantly, reminds you to share every damn thing you do? Tag your friend in a photo! TAG THEM! Now Google Photos has something similar. Take a picture of your roommate horfing down two hot dogs at once? Google will scan that image, recognise it’s your roommate, and suggest a share.


And for people you exist with on a regular, friendly basis, Google’s introduced a second and possibly more insidious feature, Shared Libraries. In the onstage example Google showed off a husband and wife with a connected library that instantly shared photos of their kids from one library to the other while ignoring the one of the husband in a crowd. All the husband had to do was select images of his family that Google could recognise.

If you are stepping out do not add the person you are stepping out with.

On a macro level that’s incredible. The intelligence required in Google Photos to automatically accomplish the feat of recognising people and instantly sharing photos of them feels awe inspiring — even if Facebook does it already. But it’s also a little terrifying. This is a constant, very friendly reminder that Google is scanning every single photo you put into Google Photos and learning about you.

Google Photos may have hinted at some of the creepiness in the past, but this new nagging functionality is a persistent reminder of just how much you give up to get great products. Until now Google Photos was simply one of the best photo management apps for you phone. It was fast, streamlined, and left me the hell alone. I’m gonna miss that app.

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