Facebook is revamping its photo album feature with the ability to add videos, check-ins, text posts to albums, follow friends’ albums so you’re notified when they’re updated, and display “featured” albums on your profile to highlight your favorite collections. Facebook is also simplifying the ability to add contributors to a collaborative album, which was an option added in 2013 but deeply buried in the product.
Facebook described the purpose of the update to TechCrunched, writing “Gone on a surf trip recently? Share videos of you tacking your waves, your check-in at the pier, a photo of your board and more – in a single album.”
Giving albums more flexibility could help Facebook stave off the newly invigorated assault from Google Photos. Google can now store all your photos for free, detect who’s in them and suggest sharing with them, automatically share photos with your closest friends or family, and let you search your library by keyword using machine vision. Those features approximate some of what’s available in Facebook’s photo sharing app Moments.
With this update, Facebook hopes to differentiate itself by allowing you to organize more than just photos in albums, drawing on its vibrant social network that Google lacks since G+ flopped. The new feature essentially lets you create digital scrapbooks of all kinds of content. That raises the question of whether Facebook will start letting you create, print, and buy physical photo books from it the way Google does now.