“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
When I joined the Google Photos team, they’d just integrated Snapseed into Google+ (the predecessor of Photos). As I hope is obvious, I’m a huge Snapseed fan, but when we looked at what most users actually did in G+ (crop, rotate, tweak brightness, and maybe apply a filter), it became clear that Snapseed was dramatically more complex & powerful than they needed.
Therefore we made the hard decision to reset & build a new editor from scratch. We aimed to deliver great results in a single tap, offer just a few powerful sliders (which under the hood adjusted numerous parameters), and keep Snapseed just one extra tap away (via the overflow menu) for nerds like me.
The vision was always to keep learning from users’ behavior, then thoughtfully enable just the controls needed to deliver extra power when needed. I’m delighted to say that Photos now does just that: the update released Tuesday on iOS, Android, and Web (try it here) manages to keep a simple top-level UI while revealing a lot more of the power under the hood.
The filters UI applies Auto (which can now produce more accurate results) as part of every filter:
These unique looks make edits based on the individual photo and its brightness, darkness, warmth, or saturation, before applying the style. All looks use machine intelligence to complement the content of your photo. 
In the adjustments section, in addition to the Light, Color, and Pop sliders:
- Light opens to reveal Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Vignette
- Color opens to reveal Saturation, Warmth, Tint, Skin Tone, and Deep Blue
I continue to find Auto to be highly effective for the bulk of my images, but I like being able to pop the hood when needed.
Please take the new features for a spin & let us know what you think!
Oh, and since you’ve been kind enough to read this far, here are some useful shortcuts for use on desktop:
- E to enter & exit the editor
- R to enter & exit crop/rotate
- Shift-R to rotate 90º
- A to Auto Enhance
- O (press & hold) to see original
- Z to zoom
- Left/right arrows to move among images
- Cmd-C/V to copy/paste edits among images
- After clicking a slider, use arrow keys to adjust it & press Tab to put focus onto the next slider