Do you remember the time before digital photography? When you had to insert film into a manual camera, and wait potentially weeks for it to be developed before you could enjoy the results? Now that even digital cameras are slowly fading from the spotlight, it seems like more than 'just' a decade ago. Today, our smartphones give us anything we need to take, view, and save beautiful pictures instantly wherever we go.
Until recently, it was just one convenience of the modern, mobile world. But in the near future, the implications of easily taking photos anywhere could become much more significant. Enter Google's effort to revamp its Photo app, taking advantage of artificial intelligence and a near-limitless capability to make sense of (and utilize) billions of images.
Google's Newfound Emphasis on Photos
At this year's I/O Conference, Google announced a wide-reaching slate of changes coming to its photo app. As The Ringer put it,
Users will soon be able to automatically share all their uploaded photos with a loved one, or filter which specific photos are auto-shared by date or topic. A new Suggested Sharing feature will use facial recognition to prompt users to send photos of their friends directly to them, similar to Facebook’s Moments app...
With all these perks, plus unlimited storage, Google Photos is set to become the most convenient, powerful option available for managing a large media library.
Google, in other words, wants to make its Photos app the prevalent storage and sorting option among competitors like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Flickr. Why? Look no further than its mission statement.
Organizing the World's Information
It's become almost cliche, but Google's mission to Organize the World's Information and make it publicly available for anyone who asked seemed overly ambitious just a few years ago. Now, if you ask me or the above-quoted Ringer piece, Google has effectively accomplished that feat when it comes to the written word.
Think about it: when was the last time you had a question and didn't instinctively turn to Google for the answer? For better or worse, we've come to expect that the internet contains our collective information - and that the search engine giant is the best way to unearth it.
Now, Google wants to expand that expectations to photo storage. Those who know me know that I'm a firm believer in and user of Apple's Photo app. It's just one example of the more fragmented photo storage market that Google finds itself in with this product, particularly considering the fact that any iOS device will default to Apple's alternative. But the added functionality, particularly as it relates to automatically tagging photos and making your database more easily searchable, could make increasing numbers of users want to switch.
Turns out, that added functionality is also the exact potential connection I see from Google's new emphasis on Photos to its digital marketing implications.
What Could the Digital Marketing Implications Be?
In the short term, the benefits of these features are obvious. Long-term, they could become even more significant. Photo albums turn into interactive databases that sort themselves on behalf of the user. Facial recognition, in that case, could only the beginning; a self-learning Photos app could effectively detect your immediate environment, and serve relevant content accordingly.
Think about the marketing possibilities associated with that type of capabilities. In fact, you don't even have to think about it; look no further than Google Maps. Here, sponsored listings already allow marketers to highlight their business to users looking for relevant information.
Now, imagine the next step: an opportunity to send push notifications to users who are posting pictures relevant to your brand or location. Suddenly, you have the potential to reach an audience that may never have heard of you, but are in the exact right situation to be interested in your value proposition.
Of course, we're still a long way off from getting to that point. Still, Google's new emphasis on highlighting and infusing its Photos app bears monitoring not just for marketing experts, but anyone looking to use their phone and improve their storage. Within a few years, it could become a beacon of context-specific digital marketing.
Speaking of which: is your brand prepared to make your marketing more relevant for not just your audience, but the context in which they will encounter your message? Google is just one of the many companies directly or indirectly looking to increase the possibilities in this direction. For help in getting your brand started in better and more relevant digital marketing, contact us