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They wanted to tell me that they liked the photos and videos I shared, but had to tell me in somewhere other than the album, which felt disjointed.

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You can send people a link to join that album and, in settings, you decide whether or not those people can add their own content to the album.

(Contributors need a Google account, but anyone with the link can view the album and download photos, even from a mobile browser.) Back in September, Google said that it was working on Shared Albums when it announced a bunch of other updates to Google Photos.

But the company has a challenging hill to climb if it wants to replace Apple in this area — especially since i OS users have had shared albums, originally called shared photo streams, since September 2012.

(If you’re curious, an Apple spokesperson told me that the company has no plans in the foreseeable future to take its shared albums to other operating systems, like Android.) But even if you put aside the familiarity factor, Google has to convince people to trust it for privately sharing photos and videos — no small feat after its Google social network confused people about what was shared privately or publicly.

Google’s product lead for Photos, Dave Lieb, says that shared albums are completely private unless the user explicitly shares, and that this is clearly a private photo management service, not a social network.

To vie for your attention on i OS, it would help if Google’s app intelligently integrated into the operating system, using things like richer notifications.

Google Photos was already strong on i OS and Android, especially for its unlimited backup feature, but the addition of shared albums gives this app an extra boost that may entice more people to use it.

Apple users aren’t likely to switch to it any time soon, but if shared albums fixes its problems, it could be a big win for Android and people who use both platforms.

They might label an album's new photos more clearly or let people adjust settings to switch the order of photos from when-taken to when-added.

On the i Phone or i Pad, Google is limited by what it’s allowed to do for certain features.

Amazingly enough, you can’t caption, comment on, or like things that you share or see, and this sucks the emotion from albums, leaving you with an unsatisfying feeling.

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