Google Photo Books Review: Reasonable Price, Excellent Quality


Last fall, in an unlikely attempt at thoughtfulness, I created a photo book as a birthday present for my wife. It damn near killed me.

The final result turned out beautifully, and I’d do it again. But in the process of creating it, I discovered what anyone who’s done so already knows: Piecing together a collection of photographs using today’s stalwarts—the Shutterflys and Mpixes and Minteds of the world—involves a healthy dose of crazy-making. Uploading all those photos takes time. Sorting them though clunky interfaces takes even more. And by the time you’re finished, you’ve stared so long at your precious memories that you’re already a little bit sick of them.

Google Photo Books, announced this spring, seeks to remedy that fatigue. Just sort through your sky-high digital photo pile using Google’s AI search chops, pick 20 photos you want to feature (or add more for additional cost), order them however you like, slap a name on the front, and it’ll be on your doorstep in two weeks. A 20-page softcover costs you $10 with 35-cents per extra page, while hardcover runs $20, with extras comping in at 65-cents a shot.

Like so few things in life, it works exactly as advertised. I hopped into my Google Photos collection search page, clicked on a photo of my daughter and added a few favorites to my photo book, repeated with my son, then my wife, and within a few minutes I had a 50 or so page collection of highlights from the first half of the year.

I wanted to group my book chronologically, rather than by family member, but switching around the order was simply a matter of dragging and dropping. Call it five more minutes of fiddling. Google only allows one photo per page, so you can’t tweak layouts even if you want to, beyond choosing how much white border to put around each pic (your options are: none, a little, a little more). Add a title to the front. Add another to the spine, if you’ve packed 48 pages in. Click on Cart, go to Checkout, cough up four bucks or so for standard shipping, and you’re done.

Google

The whole process really did take a fraction of the time that my previous efforts with other services had. And the result doesn’t feel cheap; the photo book that arrived on my doorstep a week and a half later had better-than-decent paper quality, the images looked like faithful reproductions, and it felt substantial. Google also says that eventually, it will automatically recommend photo books for you, based around specific trips, people, or subjects.

I like Google’s photo book approach for a keepsake—but less so as a gift. The stripping down of features that help the process fly also bleed the end result of personal touches, and higher-end finishes. Squeezing in more photos per page feels tedious at the time, but also helps tell a story. A mostly white hardcover book looks stark next to the warmer materials and colors offered by the entrenched photo services. Too much embellishment makes a photo book look garish, but too little can feel sterile. Besides, some people like garish.

That’s not so much a knock against Google as a caution to people who expect more than it offers here. A Google photo book is fast, affordable, and tidy—all qualities its competitors have struggled to provide. Just know that those benefits double as limitations.

WIRED

You can create and order a photo book in less time than it takes to start a charcoal grill. The Google Photos AI sits at the head of the class; you can search for anything—grass, giraffes, beer—and get back an instant catalog of subject-specific photos you forgot taking. The price beats pretty much everyone, but the print quality doesn’t suffer for it. Works on desktop, iOS, and Android. You really can’t beat it for a quick memento of a specific moment or event.

TIRED

You get a little more than you pay for, but remember that you’re not paying much. If you start building your photo book before you’ve selected your photos, the search function doesn’t show up, which is… weird. Start in Search first, and add shots to your photo book by clicking the ‘+’ in the upper-right corner. Beyond the photos you pick, there’s virtually no personalization.

RATING

8/10 Great for what it is. Just make sure that lines up with what you want.

Source link

Previous Skillet Chicken Puttanesca Recipe | SimplyRecipes.com
Next It's Time to Make Code More Tinker-Friendly

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *