App developers seeking to build engagement and loyalty with their consumers can find great examples among Google’s apps. An early offering, GMail provided a better way to communicate with others in our lives. An even more emotional connection was forged through Google Maps, which we have often relied on to literally show us the way in strange surroundings. Helping consumers in this way builds trust.

Carrying that playbook forward, Google finally got photo management in 2014 with Google Photos. Users could now rely on unlimited high-quality backup of all their photos. This changed the game the way Spotify did for music. It also addressed a pain point for consumers even as many millennials have come to favor vanishing photos.

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The promotion of Google Photos as a single aggregation point evokes simplicity and security. Google has extended that promise today with PhotoScan, an app for scanning prints and adding them to Google Photos. Far from being a big dumb disk in the sky (which Google already had), it opened the door to all kinds of applications that Google has added since launch, such as automatic GIF creation and collages. Consumers have embraced the app, which maintains a high and consistent DAU on Google Play with 5.86 million over the last 30 days.

Today’s updates should increase what is already a healthy level of engagement with the popular app. PhotoScan is connecting print photos to new editing capabilities will satisfy people’s proclivity to tweak. Both take advantage of extensive machine learning. But the sharing enhancements are the most noteworthy, spreading the Photos app virally and addressing the pain point of rounding up not only all the photos taken during an event, but suggesting more to share. Google notes that, similar to how it suggests movies and collages today, Photos may suggest photos to share in the future.

Besides frustrating efforts by Apple to build out its own photo storage business, Google is adding features that entice consumers to stay within its Photos app with easier and more effective sharing. Doing this helps Google to cement its aggregation of our digital assets. In doing so, it fights back against Facebook and photo-sharing apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, where so much sharing occurs today.

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AuthorRoss Rubin