Back in September, Google introduced a slate of new Photos features, including story-like “Memories” and more printing options. Google Photos today is rolling out a built-in chat service for mobile and desktop.

Update 12/16: Announced on December 3rd, Google Photos’ built-in messaging capability looks to now be widely available. One way to check if it’s live is by sharing an image on Android, iOS, or web and looking for “Send in Google Photos” at the top of the sheet.

This messaging solution lets you have an “ongoing, private conversation in the app” when you “share one-off photos and videos.” It appears alongside existing app sharing options as a new “Send in Google Photos” carousel, and more efficient than link sharing.

You’ve always been able to share individual photos through the app by creating an album for a single photo and sharing the link. But we’ve heard from some of you that this could be a simpler experience.

It supports one-to-one conversations and creating groups, while you can search for Google Photos users you know. After selecting a recipient, you can “Say something” with your image, while the thread also features read receipts. When others send an image, you can quickly “Save to library,” comment, and like with hearts.

According to Google, this “feature isn’t designed to replace the chat apps you already use.” It joins existing first-party social features like live albums and shared libraries/albums.

While there’s inherent cynicism in Google releasing another app-specific communication feature — RIP YouTube Messages, Photos has a good track record of releasing useful functionality and is beloved by many. That said, it’s questionable whether people will use a built-in feature rather than just sticking to where their existing conversations are.

Google Photos chat messaging is rolling out gradually over the next week and will be available on Android, iOS, and the web.

More about Google Photos:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: