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Google Photos Offers Free Unlimited Storage for iPhone, Android

The new app lets people keep as many photos and videos as they want on the cloud - for free.

Google launched its new Photos app on Thursday, offering Android and iPhone users unlimited storage and the ability to automatically organize their photographs.

The app lets people keep as many photos and videos as they want on the cloud, storing the original up to 16 megapixels for photos and 1080p resolution for video. (Larger items will be compressed). The idea is to automatically back up photos and videos so they don't take up valuable space. Apple and Amazon offer something similar, but don't give users unlimited storage for free.

"We want everyone to be able to back up and store a lifetime of memories," Anil Sabharwal, the lead product manager for Google Photos, said at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco.

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Where Google Photos distinguishes itself from other apps is how it automatically organizes photos. You don't need to tag photos; the app can detect faces and locations, and sort the photographs accordingly. You can also search for photos by keyword. Google called the feature "private, for your eyes only," addressing possible concerns over an app recognizing and labeling photos featuring close friends and family members.

A quick swipe to the left brings up the photo assistant, which can piece together photographs or movies into longer videos, collages, animations without help from the user. The app also promises easier one-tap editing and sharing with social networks. Google Photos will be available starting Thursday for desktops and iOS and Android devices.