Creepy? Useful? Both? Google announced a slew of new features coming to Google Photos, Gmail and other company products designed to make life just a tad easier.
Google Photos got Suggested Sharing and Shared Libraries for instance. Suggested Sharing is a new feature that suggests contacts to share photos with based on who is on these photos. If you take a photo of your friends at a party, Google Photos might identify those on the photos, and suggest you share the photos with them.
Shared Libraries on the other hand brings photos from different phones together in a single library based on things or people that you want to share with another person. A couple could select to share photos of their children for instance, or their dog. For that, all that it would take is to select photos that show people or objects, so that Google may identify them in future photos taken on the device or uploaded to Google Photos.
Gmail's Smart Reply feature on Android or iOS makes replying to emails easier by suggesting short answers.
If you look at these features, you may find them useful, or not, depending on how you use Google services and devices.
If you like to share photos for instance, you may find the two new Google Photos features useful. Gmail users who get a lot of emails that require just a simple response, may like the new Smart Reply feature.
If you dig a bit deeper however, you will realize that Google needs access to information for that functionality. If Google cannot read emails for instance, its algorithm cannot come up with replies to messages.
And if it does not use facial recognition or object identification when you upload new photos to Google Photos, it cannot really help you with the sharing functionality. Also, it needs access to contact information to connect people or objects to the list to find suitable sharing candidates.
As Alex Cranz points out correctly on Gizmodo, Google's business is to know as much as possible about each and everyone in order to make as much money as possible using those information.
This does not mean that Google users don't benefit from these information as well, as Google pushes out a constant stream of new features or apps that makes life easier for Google users who use them.
But how easy is easy enough, especially if you weigh this against the privacy implications? Do you really need reminders by an algorithm when it comes to sharing photos on your devices? Or automatic replies for emails?
You might say that it does not really matter anymore at this point, as Google is already reading your emails, and probably also using object identification algorithms to find out more about what is shown on photos.
Still, you may wonder where all of this will end. Will an AI take over the sharing, emailing and communicating for you in the future?
Google revealed today that more than 500 million people are using Google Photos to back up more than 1.2 billion photos and videos per day.
Now You: Do you find these features useful? Do you use others that Google or other companies rolled out in the past?