Google Photos is seeing stars (and hearts) with new social reactions

Google Photos is continuing a push to serve as both a photo storage platform and a social media site by rolling out an essential social network feature: Reactions. Google photos will soon have a star and heart option on photographs, the company tweeted on Monday, May 21.

The two different reaction icons serve two different purposes. The heart is available when viewing photos friends have shared on the platform. The reaction is available for individual photos and entire albums. When a friend reacts to your photo or album, a heart icon with their name appears underneath.

The star, on the other hand, is designed for your own photos. Tapping the star icon in the app will mark photos as a favorite, collecting all the favorites into one automatically generated album, similar to the heart icon in Apple Photos. Favorites won’t work on photos friends have shared with you, however, unless you add the photo to your own Google Photos library.

While both take up a small portion of the screen, they could be a significant update for users. Just imagine Facebook without the like button or Twitter without the heart icon. Google Photos is more dual purpose, serving both as a cloud photo service and as a way to socially share images through shared albums or with Google contacts.

The heart icon serves as a social tool, while the favorites are geared to beef up Google Photos’ existing options that help users find photos faster. Once users start selecting favorites, those shots will appear in a new Favorites albums. The option works alongside the platform’s existing auto-generated albums like the ones organizing people, places, and things.

The announcement follows an even longer list of Google Photos updates the company shared during I/O earlier this month. The platform’s assistant can now help create effects like color pops or colorize a black and white photo using artificial intelligence. Other updates include suggestions to share photos with the person in the image. During I/O, the company shared that Google Photos now has 5 billion photo views every day.

The star icon to mark favorites is rolling out this week, while Google didn’t share an estimated arrival date for the hearts.

Photography

Lightroom adds first new slider in 4 years and will teach you how to use it

Say hello to Lightroom's first new slider in four years, the texture slider. The update joins new in-app learning tutorials, one of the company's most requested features. The updates also include batch editing for Lightroom mobile.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Social Media

Save me: How to download Instagram photos from any device

Browsing photos in Instagram is one thing, but saving them is another. Until recently, it wasn't easy to get your pics and data off the 'gram and saved elsewhere, but now you can download Instagram photos with just a few clicks.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.
Gaming

These awesome free-to-play games might be even better than the ones you paid for

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Photography

Panasonic Lumix S1 vs. Canon EOS R: A full-frame mirrorless matchup

The Canon EOS R and Panasonic Lumix S1 both represent their company's first attempts at full-frame mirrorless cameras, and each manufacturer brought different competencies to the table. Here's how to two high-end camera compare.
Product Review

DJI's dual-screen Osmo Action is a serious attempt to dethrone GoPro

With two screens, screw-on filters, and a very GoPro-like user interface, DJI's first real action camera takes a stab at dethroning the king. And it just might succeed.
Deals

The Dragon Touch Vision 3 action cam is an affordable GoPro alternative

In the arena of action cameras, GoPro has long held a firm grasp on the top spot. Now, thanks to GoPro alternative Dragon Touch, which is currently on Amazon for just $50, you have a more affordable choice.
Photography

DJI’s waterproof Osmo Action camera to take on GoPro with two LCD screens

DJI is expanding into new territory with the Osmo Action, a waterproof action camera with both front and rear LCD screens and electronic image stabilization. Shooting up to 4K at 60 fps, it could be enough to take on GoPro -- and win.
Photography

Eye autofocus is here for the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. So just how good is it?

Nikon's new mirrorless cameras are getting a boost thanks to firmware version 2.0, which adds eye-detection autofocus, expanded low-light autofocus, and autoexposure for high-speed continuous shooting to the Z 6 and Z 7.
Photography

Photographer sues Ariana Grande after she posts his images of her on Instagram

A professional photographer is suing Ariana Grande after she posted photos on Instagram that he'd taken of her. Grande used the post to promote one of her albums, but the photographer says she used the photos without permission.
Social Media

Instagram ditches plans for stand-alone Direct messaging app

Instagram is shuttering it's stand-alone messaging app, Direct, after testing it since 2017. While the messaging features remain intact inside Instagram, the separate app will be discontinued in the next few weeks.
Social Media

6 easy ways to archive all of your favorite Instagram videos

Saving Instagram videos should be just as easy as taking a screenshot. So, we've put together a list of the best apps and tools that save your favorite Instagram videos onto your phone or computer.
Photography

Nikon recalls batches of Z 6 and Z 7 cameras for faulty stabilization systems

Nikon has issued a service advisory for some batches of its popular Z 6 and Z 7 mirrorless cameras, due to image stabilization systems that may not function fully. Nikon will repair the affected models free of charge.