Do we really need to present Google Photos? The search giant’s service, which has been integrated into our Google accounts via a Gmail address for quite a few years, offers a library that organizes the images we capture on our smartphones, thanks in particular to powerful algorithms.
An integrated service in your pocket
In addition to archiving your photos, it is possible to create a photo book directly from the application by choosing your images or by using the sorting functions directly integrated by Google. For example, Google Photos allows automatic sorting of photos according to subjects, activities, significant moments, animals photographed or places visited.
The direct competition does not offer such a wide range of options, even if some services can automatically sort and edit the uploaded photos, like Photobox.
Two formats, one point that’s all
Google is keeping it simple regarding the choice of formats offered, two in number: a softcover book 18 x 18 cm, 20 pages, for €14.99 and a hardcover book 23 x 23 cm, 20 pages, for 24 €.99 (delivery costs not included). Simple, basic. This is the second version we ordered.
Creating a book on Google Photos is quite simple. Just open the site (or mobile application) of the same name and go to the “Photo Books” tab. You must of course be connected to your Google account for everything to work correctly. Once in this menu, several choices are available to you. Either you choose to print an automatic selection made by Google Photos of the “Best memories of the year” type, or you create your own album from A to Z. You can use the photos already stored on your drive, or import new ones.
Pay attention to the size of the shots
Note that when importing new shots, you will have to choose between importing the original size of the shots or resizing them to the maximum size of 16 megapixels. All this in order not to overload the 15 GB available by default on Google Drive, which hosts the data and images of the Google account. From the image selection tool, we have access to a light editor. A range of color or B&W filters are available to us, as well as adjustment sliders for brightness, color and to give more “pep” to our image. It can also be cropped and flipped as desired.
Once the images have been imported, edited and selected, the creation of the book really begins by clicking on the shopping cart icon. By default, the books are 20 pages, but it is always possible to add more within the limit of 140 pages.
Simple, but effective
The book editor is of a rare sobriety. In the left column, you can arrange the pages as you wish, but it is not possible to move the photos directly from the main area. For the arrangement of images, Google is not eccentric and only allows three formats.
It is also possible to keep the original format of the photo. With a square-format book, large white margins at the top and bottom of the print are present. For a more aesthetic result, you have to crop the photo in square format by choosing a layout with margins or by completely filling the page.
A limited margin
A single page can contain up to four images, and it is possible to choose five different layouts if necessary. A caption can be added at the bottom of the page, without the possibility of modifying the size of the characters or the font. The title of the book on the spine or the cover cannot be modified.
By clicking on each photo, you can crop the shot quite easily, but nothing more. You cannot modify the margins, the background or even the frame of the pages. We are certainly not in the presence of the most advanced publisher on the market, but Google’s service is very easy to access for anyone who wants to make a photo book in a few minutes, even from their smartphone.
One print mode
Google hardly leaves us the choice of the paper or the type of impression, the surprise remaining total until the reception of the book. In the end, we obtain a product in matte printing, on classic paper. The least we can say is that the result is quite mixed. On our book, we first note a colorimetry in the standard of the photo books tested, with an average Delta E of 5.4 – a rather good result in absolute terms.
As a reminder, it is considered that it is when the Delta E is less than 3 that the human eye does not perceive colorimetric drifts. Here, it is especially the yellow hues and the magenta variants that are the most out of the ordinary, even if overall, the accuracy of the colors is rather there.
When we look at the print quality, we are immediately confronted with many defects. Several artifacts, stains or streaks left by the printer are present on several pages of the book. Scratches appear here and there, and sometimes noticeably. These defects may be limited to our work, but the recurrence of damage does not bode well.
The prints are correct at first glance, but suffer from comparison with a more recognized service such as the Cewe laboratory, which offers much higher image quality and sharpness with its digital prints.
Relative print quality
The print itself isn’t the best we’ve seen in the past. Digital. The resolution is not very good, with a clearly visible frame. Solid colors and gradients could have been better managed, unsightly bands being too visible. If it is not completely bad and certainly less harmful than the manufacturing defects mentioned above, the shots are not necessarily highlighted.
The union minimum
Google is once again keeping it simple. His book is therefore 23 x 23 cm with a hard cover. Compared to the 18 x 18 cm format and its soft cover, you get a bound book that is more resistant over time, and not a paperback binding. Aside from printing issues, our test copy suffered hardly any shaping issues.
We can however notice on the first three pages of the marks at the level of the binding, which let suspect errors of collage. After page 3, we no longer encounter this problem.
A logo that cannot be removed
The cover is matte, with no other choice. The printing is of good quality, but this type of finish does not enhance the Google book. The work is light, and we notice that laid flat, it is never completely closed: it yawns a little, and does not sweat the quality. It is impossible to put a photo on the back cover, a Google Photos logo that cannot be removed breaks the white monotony of this back.
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