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At its event today, Google has announced a new range of updates for its Google Photo image management service and is bringing support for the Chromecast as well as naming labels and album sharing with other people.

Chromecast sharing lets you share your images to the big screen, instead of having to pass your phone around to show your friends and families. With the latest update, when you’re in the Google Photos app and you have a configured ChromeCast, you can just tap the Cast button and it will share the images to the big screen.

A great feature is being able to flick through your images on your phone and only sharing the ones you select to the TV, which is perfect if you’ve got some private photos from your holiday that you’d rather your family and friends didn’t see. Chromecast support means you can also share any videos and animations created by Google Photos directly to your big screen as well.

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One of the biggest challenges with having a large collection of photos is being able to find the images you want and while Google Photos does a decent job of picking images that match your search, it’s about to get a whole lot better. With the latest update, you can now add name labels to images which will improve the machine learning experience.

For example, if you take a bunch of pictures of your family at Christmas, you can add the name label “family” and then when you search for “family at Christmas”, Google will use machine learning and facial recognition to pick out just those photos. Most importantly, the names are completely private and Google says they are not used for targeting purposes.

The last new feature in Google Photos is arguably the best but you’ll be waiting a little while for it; a key problem with having a shared collection of photos is having to still tell people when you’ve added more or updated the album. With the new Google Photos sharing features, you’ll be able to invite friends to view and contribute to your albums, which is perfect if you’re trying to collect all the photos from your wedding in one single location.

Once they’ve joined, they’ll receive notifications whenever you add a new photo and they can add the photos to their own collections with just a single tap. A key thing that differentiates this feature from others – it is after all, very similar to Apple’s shared photo stream – is that it works across both iOS and Android meaning you can share the albums with ease to any of your friends who use an iPhone.

The updates to Google Photos certainly aren’t massive on their own but collectively, they make a great product even better. Although it’s only a few months old, Google Photos – which was born out of the mess that is Google+ – is already one of the best consumer photo products on the marketplace and the new update will only serve to make it even better.

What do you think of the Google Photos update? Let us know your views in the comments below!

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