Google debuts monthly photo printing subscription

Google is trialing a new photo printing subscription.
Image: Cody DeBos / The Burn-In

Google Photos is a terrific app. It helps users free up space on their phone by storing pictures in the cloud while simultaneously offering an array of tools that make organizing and searching for photos a breeze. Recently, Google began offering physical photo prints through the Photos app. Users can send an order from the app and then pick up their prints at any Walmart or CVS location.

Now, the Big Tech company is taking things a step further. Google Photos will soon begin offering users a $7.99 monthly subscription for 10 AI-selected prints every month.

Automatic Printing

Quite a few features of Google Photos’ new subscription are noteworthy. Though there are other companies, like Shutterfly and Groovebook, that offer monthly photo subscriptions, none are identical to Google’s newest offering. That’s true in terms of both price and structure.

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Users who sign up for the new Photos service will pay $7.99 per month. In return, they’ll get 10 4×6-inch prints. However, they won’t be photos that the subscriber picks. Rather, Google’s algorithms will choose which pictures are print-worthy. Ultimately, users will be able to tweak the selection, but the key here is the convenience factor.

Reports from 9to5Google suggest that users will be able to influence the algorithm’s choices. For example, they can prioritize certain types of photos like those containing “people and pets,” “landscapes,” or “a little bit of everything.” Or, they can leave everything up to the algorithm.

Google envisions the service as something that gives users a physical collection of their most memorable moments each month. They will arrive in a cardboard envelope at the user’s home, which will save them a trip to the store. Google believes the prints are “perfect to put on the fridge, in a frame, or to give as gifts to the important.”

Select users will receive an invitation to try out the subscription via a banner in the Google Photos app. As of now, it is only trialing the service in the U.S.

Difficult Pricing

While Google’s new photo printing subscription is a good idea in theory, one thing might stand in its way—the price. Its $7.99 a month cost breaks down to roughly $0.79 per print. That’s over three times more expensive than printing pictures through the Google Photos app at Walmart or CVS.

For nothing more than the convenience of not choosing photos and not going to pick them up at the store, that is a steep markup. It isn’t hard to find cheaper alternatives.

However, Google knows that (and everything else). It wouldn’t be rolling out this service if it didn’t think that there is a market for it. For what it’s worth, the convenience is pretty nice. Users will be able to preserve their top-ten photo memories without putting in an ounce of effort.

That will undoubtedly be attractive to many people in today’s hectic world. Besides, with countless subscriptions already pulling the wallets of subscribers in every direction, what’s one more? At least this one will provide a physical memory that will last.

Meanwhile, for Google, it could produce a nice recurring revenue from a platform that users can take advantage of for free otherwise.


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