The Chromebook world is a weird one where apps trickle out slowly and in a manageable stream, with the most interesting ones costly coming from Google itself. The latest is software that was originally demoed at the Chromebook Pixel launch, then released for that computer exclusively, and now has arrived for all Chromebooks as of today.
The Google+ Photos app, for those who haven’t been following its long and winding saga, is a standalone app that takes the best of Google+’s photos features and adds things like automatic backup from SD cards, offline viewing of recent uploads, and auto-sorting of the best shots as well as simple sharing.
Maybe the best part of Google+’s Photos app is that it uses the company’s new Auto Enhance magic to subtly improve the quality of any uploaded photos without any action required on their part, so long as it’s enabled, and the Auto Awesome feature that generates GIFs and collages.
At Google’s I/O keynote, the features around images were probably the best part of, at least from a truly useful consumer development standpoint. Photos in the age of digital photography are just sort of a bulk nuisance item that we plan to, but never actually get around to organizing, sifting and editing. Google+ now does a really good job of handling a lot of that heavy lifting.
Chromebooks are still niche devices, but software like this makes them ideal travel companions or even better tools for users with light demands and little know-how of programs like Lightroom or Photoshop. Keeping the Photos app exclusive to the pricey, even-more-niche-than-niche Pixel wasn’t doing anyone any favors, so it’s nice to see it become more widely available.