Interest in printed photos has revived, in part because of the popularity of Instagram square-format photos and the return of the instant-printed “Polaroid” camera. Of course, the latter means you have to carry another camera, or at least a small pocket printer, whose only purpose is to print this frame photo. If that sounds like a hassle, Google has launched a print photo service before, but the results aren’t that hot.
The subscription service was announced in February and is very specific and strange. It will be similar to a monthly combination of Mysterious Box, Polaroid photo printing and artificial intelligence, for a monthly fee of $8. It recommends picking 10 of your favorite photos from the photos you took that month, although these candidate photos for users are chosen by a secret mix of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Each month, the semi-randomly selected photos are printed out and sent to users, who can share them with friends or scan them online.
Now, Google is ready to shut it down on June 30, before the service is fully rolled out. Since it is still on a free trial period, there will be no fees to be refunded to the consumer in any case. If you receive your monthly review email by June 25, you’ll still get the last batch of photos before the end of the service.
In any case, the Google Photos subscription is a rather strange idea, and early testers don’t seem to be so happy with how it’s implemented. Coupled with the growing risk of selling and delivering physical goods, google is also right to shelve the business, as is the new crown outbreak.