Google Photos, coming monthly subscription to print photos

Google launches the "Netflix of photos": a subscription to print 10 photos per month, chosen by an algorithm among those taken with your smartphone

Would you let an artificial intelligence algorithm choose which are the most beautiful photos you took with your smartphone in the last 30 days? And would you be willing to pay a monthly subscription to have them printed and delivered to your home? According to Google, the answer to both questions is yes, so much so that it is testing just such a subscription.

For some months now, Google allows those who use the Photos app on their Android smartphone to request the printing of their best shots, but only within a "photo book" with a soft cover 18×18 cm, twenty pages and at a price of 12.99 euros or 22.99 euros for the photo book 23×23 cm. All prices including VAT, but excluding shipping. Now, however, Google is testing in the United States alone a $7.99 per month subscription for printing 10 monthly photos. The interesting thing, however, is the way in which the photos are chosen to be printed: Google does it automatically, through an algorithm.

How does the subscription work for Google photos

At a price of $7.99 the user receives at home (so we assume no shipping costs) ten photos 10×15 cm printed on white matte paper and with a thin frame of 3 mm. The choice of photos is automatic, but the user can choose three different "calibrations" of the algorithm: "Mostly people and animals", "Mostly landscapes" and "A bit of everything". The photos are delivered in a cardboard sleeve and, according to Google, "are perfect for hanging on the fridge or framing."

Will it work?

This subscription is currently in the testing phase, for U.S. Google Photos users only. It's hard to predict if, and how successful it will be, not only because of the unknown factor of the algorithmic choice of photos, which may not be appreciated by all users, but also because today's printed photo lovers are a decidedly small niche market.

It makes sense, however, that Google is trying to connect more and more services to the Photos app because it is precisely the storage of photos, which take up a lot of space, that may become the key to convincing users to pay for extended storage space on Google's cloud.