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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Google's new take on photo sharing

How we share photos with family and friends changed this week, for the better.
Google Photos: Grandma now can get a stream of baby photos

How we share photos with family and friends changed this week, for the better.

Google Photos new Shared Libraries feature lets you

How does the sound of an automatic feed to the most important person in your life sound? This one doesn't rely on you having to select photos, compose an e-mail or grab a link to share.

That's the promise of Google Photos' new Shared Libraries feature, and the search giant's automatic tools.

When it comes to photo sharing, let's face it, there are so many ways to do it, none of them great. Peek over my shoulder at this image on my phone is one really popular method, along with attaching photos to e-mails and clogging the other person's inbox. For mass sharing, many post to Facebook or Instagram for everyone to see, and for one-to-one alternatives, use a service like Apple's iCloud, Dropbox or Google Photos to generate a link and share directly with selected friends and family.

The new twist introduced this week by Google Photos allows you to send, say, Mom a feed of every photo you snap of the new baby, without you having to go in and directly sort through the photos, select a group of them and push them out with an e-mail link, or gallery you created online.

The Shared Libraries lets you select to share your entire library—every new and old photo you snap, or just specific photos of people in your library, and you can select the dates too—like every shot from this week.

TalkingTech has been a huge fan of the Google Photos app and desktop website since it debuted in May, 2015. Its sales proposition is huge—free unlimited storage and automatic backup of every photo you shoot on your smartphone and computer, at slightly lower resolution.

This solves the problem most smartphone users have to contend with: "out of storage" nag messages when you've whipped through your 16 GB on the entry level phone. Plus Google Photos does a great job of finding your photos of friends and family, quickly.

The new Shared Libraries feature puts pressure on Apple and others to improve their clunky, too-many-steps-involved photo sharing.

The new tools are  great for those with newborns, or to any parent or grandparent eager to see every new shot of the kid. But I already see room for improvement.

You can only choose one person to share your new feed with and one person only. So if it's the grandparent model, only grandma or grandpa gets the feed delivered to his or her inbox, not both.

And since you only get to share your library with one special person—please be careful and think hard about how you share. Does your brother or sister really want to see every one of your July 4th parade shots and summer vacation photos?

Meanwhile, in other tech news this week. 

—Happy birthday iPhone, and welcome iOS11. The iPhone turned 10 years old Thursday, and this week, Apple gave us a sneak peek at what the next iPhone will look like, by releasing a public beta of iOS 11 , the new operating system that will run on Phones and iPads. Our Ed Baig took a look, and he notes several intriguing new features. They include the ability to have Siri, the personal assistant, translate phrases in five languages (which Google already does with its Assistant app) and indoor mapping to find airport gates and shopping mall stores.  Go to to download the beta software, but be warned--it could be buggy. The official release will be out in the fall.

—July 10th is the date for Amazon's eagerly anticipated Prime Day. The annual summer shopping event ends on July 11. Amazon said it will roll out its summer shopping event with deals starting July 10, and continuing through July 11. Amazon is promising more deals, more time to shop (30 hours instead of 24 hours), and a tighter partnership with smaller businesses, which will be responsible for nearly 40% of the lightning deals available during Prime Day.

—The latest cyberattack—its name is Petya. The ransomware attack spreading through computers in North America and Europe has reached 65 countries, The ransomware urges older, non-secure computer users to update their devices and then attacks, demanding "ransom" to get the files back.

—A shake-up at Pandora could change directions  dramatically for the struggling music streaming service. Tim Westergren, the former movie soundtrack composer who came up with the idea of having computers match similar songs and styles for a new way of music listening, resigned as CEO of Pandora this week. Pandora's free music streaming service had been quite popular, until the popularity of on-demand streaming from services like Spotify and Apple Music dimmed its prospects. Recently Pandora launched its on-demand service, and satellite broadcaster SiriusXM  invested $480 million in the company.

Our week in tech, in audio:

—We look back at ten years of the iPhone, first sneak-peeked in January, 2007, and unveiled to the world on June 29, 2007.

—Scanners are so yesterday—thanks to the iPhone and other smartphones, we can now use the built-in camera to scan documents. And Google has a great app for that—Google PhotoScam. 

—TalkingTech is traveling this week, celebrating the 150th birthday of Canada in the great north. Planning a trip to our neighbor sometime soon? We've got the rundown on what you need to know about international wireless plans, watching Netflix abroad and those really strict laws about where you can and can't fly drones up here.

How to shoot fireworks with smartphone

July 4th is on Tuesday—so we pulled our piece from the vaults on how to get great shots of the night skies with your smartphone. Happy birthday America!

Subscribe to the new #TalkingTech, the #TalkingTech podcast on  Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Tunein and wherever else you like to hear great online audio. and follow me on Twitter, @jeffersongraham and on

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