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Google Photos bumps up editing options

The new tools include shifting between photos during the edit process and changing the aspect ratio of your photos.

You can now alter the aspect ratio of your images in Google Photos.

Google Photos users are getting a small batch of new tools.

The photos team late Tuesday unveiled new online editing tricks. You can now jump between photos while remaining in editing mode, without losing either changes or the ability to revert to the original. You can also choose a specific aspect ratio for your photos by selecting any of four options: original, square, 16:9 and 4:3.

Digital photos have become a central element of people's lives, driven by the convenience of phone cameras and the kick of sharing shots on social media. For those looking to manage and manipulate their images, Google Photos is just one among a gaggle of options, from dedicated photo sites such as Flickr and Shutterfly to more general-purpose storage services such as Dropbox and Amazon Cloud Drive.

Through Google Photos, you can store, organize and share an unlimited number of photos and videos. Any photos you snap with your Android phone or tablet can automatically be uploaded to Google Drive where they're organized and can be viewed in Google Photos based on date.

Before the update, Google Photos already offered basic editing tools. You could manually alter the brightness, color and other attributes. You could choose to apply any of a number of predefined filters. You could crop a photo, rotate it horizontally or vertically, and angle it up to 45 degrees to the right or left. All changes could be applied and saved permanently or discarded by reverting the photo to its original state. You could also save a copy of your altered photo and leave the original unchanged.

Google Photos was originally built into the Google+ social network, which never gained enough momentum to compete with Facebook. In May, Google yanked out the photo and video service, creating Google Photos as a standalone.