Google Photos unveiled alongside a host of updates

Google has given more details about its new photo-sharing service Google Photos.

A range of announcements came at the opening of I/O, the technology giant’s annual developer conference held in California, and included a first look at the next version of its Android mobile operating system, but it is yet to reveal the name.

Still simply known as Android M, the new version will launch in the third quarter of this year to add what Android’s Sundar Pichai called “polish and quality”, rather than a major overhaul.

M comes with a new web experience, with Google Chrome custom tabs being added to apps so all links that take a user to a browser will now use Chrome as a base.

Google has also simplified the app links system so users will no longer be asked to choose which app to show the link in.

Google’s mobile payment system Android Pay will be built into M, and now supports all Android devices with fingerprint scanners.

Google said M will have a big focus on power, with a new feature called Doze that uses motion detection to work out when a device has been left for a long time, and it will then cut power usage to save battery.

Dave Singleton, from Google’s Android Wear division, took to the stage to give an update on wearables.

He showed new features for smartwatches that enable users to keep the screen on within apps for the first time, as well as users being able to swipe through different screens with a flick of the wrist.

Google is locked in a battle with Apple, which launched its first wearable — the Apple Watch — earlier this year, and is looking to regain the initiative.

The Google Now service was also given an impressive update, as the feature’s “language and context engine” was shown off.

A new feature called Now On Tap was announced — and will roll out alongside Android M later this year. It has new understanding of context, and an onstage demonstration showed someone listening to Skrillex, and then asking “what’s his real name?” The app now knows the context of “he” and produced the correct search results.

The revamped photo service was also unveiled as Google Photos was announced. The new service is available for free on iOS and web as well as Android, and will give users the ability to save unlimited amounts of photos and video for free.

The service automatically backs up and saves all images to the cloud, and also groups them according to place, time, and by faces, and does not need them to be tagged. The app also contains a search engine and can find images based on key terms.

A Photos Assistants feature will also suggest collage and montages based on your habits with the app.



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