Apart from the official invite, teaser video, and a website for the October 4th event in San Francisco, Google had a pretty busy Monday rolling out app updates introducing new features and a brand new travel assistant app. Yes, a Monday!
Let’s take a quick look at what’s the new and exciting.
Google Photos already makes movies using your photos, but they don’t really have that personal touch. Where’s that Facebook-style ability to automatically create videos around major life events? Relax, it’s here: Google is trotting out a Photos update that introduces smart themed movies. The service now digs through your whole photo collection and creates clips based around concepts, such as your children growing up. In that case, it’ll find high-quality photos of your young ones (no blurry shots, thankfully) and stitch them together to show their progress over the years. Only a few concepts will pop up this week, such as a summer retrospective and a concept for formal events, but there are more “coming soon.”
On top of that, it’s now much quicker to share photos and videos with friends. There’s a new in-app share sheet on Android and iOS that focuses on people, rather than third-party apps. If you are sharing a photo with somebody who isn’t on Google Photos, you still use the same sharing dialog and contact picker and simply enter their email address or phone number. Google then handles the rest for you by either sending and email, text message or in-app notifications.
When somebody opens a photo you shared, you’ll now get a notification.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the biggest or best shop in the world if you can’t connect people to the things that they want. It’s an issue that Google is hoping to address in its electronic bookstore with the launch of Discover, a new way to show people stuff they want to read.
Discover will gain these insights both by analyzing your reading habits, but also by aggregating sources from across the web. Google’s algorithms are tuned to help surface the right stories based on the books you read on Play Books, too. So if you’re reading an article or watching a video, Discover will automatically pull out the books that are mentioned and recommend them to you.
You’ll also be told which titles are being praised by NPR and which ones are about to be turned into movies. Play Books has also received a new Google Play Editorial section that will include author interviews, essays by favorite writers and book selections from some of the literary world’s leading voices.
Considering that there are over five million ebooks available on Google Play Books, a lot of people might spend a less of their time researching books and a bit more of it reading them.
Discover launches today as part of the Google Play Books Android app, and will be coming to iOS in the near future.
If you frequent Google Maps and use Gmail as your primary email provider, Google probably knows a lot about your travel plans. Now, the search giant is leveraging that knowledge and packaging it into a new travel app called Google Trips,which the company introduced on Monday.
The free app, which is available on Android and iOS, will organize your plane tickets and hotel reservations, offer editorial guides to more than 200 cities, and make personalized recommendations based on your Google history. Best of all, it works offline: you can download everything to your phone before you leave, including maps and walking directions — sparing you from having to use an expensive international data plan.
The app goes a step beyond just offering recommendations by also creating full day itineraries for the top 200 cities in the world. These can be accessed by tapping the Day Plan tile on the city’s page. Each Day Plan includes a list of sights complete with hours of operation and the estimated travel time between each location.
Trips is the culmination of more than two years of work on improving Google’s travel products, said Richard Holden, a vice president of product management at the company, in an interview.
Tap into a future trip and you’ll find a colorful grid of options to explore. Reservations organizes your flights, hotel information, and any rental car reservations you may have made. “Need to Know” has useful information about getting from the airport to the center of the city, the local currency, and what to do in case of an emergency.
The heart of the app is Things to Do, which builds custom itineraries based on how long you’ll be in town, popular destinations, and anything that you’ve previously starred or saved on a Google service. You can select a general itinerary like “72 hours in London” or drill deeper into guides that focus on shopping, museums, or other activities. And each guide can be edited to include other destinations you’d like to visit.
Google Trips excels at cutting down on the amount of time it takes to plan out activities and transportation options while traveling.