Category Archives: Google Photos

“Hey Google, define what’s a beautiful photograph…”

You know how Google Assistant can say “Hey, [stateyourname], you should probably leave for the airport by 5 to make it in time for your 7 o’clock flight?” I want it to also say, “You know, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday. Would you like this photo book to show up on your mom’s doorstep then together with some nice flowers?” Take my money, robot; make me into a better son!

Clearly such work involves a lot of moving parts & hard-to-define qualities (e.g. whether the memories evoked by an image are happy or sad may change greatly depending on things entirely outside the pixels). On the visual quality front, however, my teammates are making interesting progress. As Engadget writes,

If Google has its way, AI may serve as an art critic. It just detailed work on a Neural Image Assessment (NIMA) system that uses a deep convolutional neural network to rate photos based on what it believes you’d like, both technically and aesthetically. It trains on a set of images based on a histogram of ratings (such as from photo contests) that give a sense of the overall quality of a picture in different areas, not just a mean score or a simple high/low rating.

 Check out the Research blog for details on how it works.

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Google Photos gets pet-savvy

“Dogs and cats clustered together—mass hysteria!” Google Photos can now search by breed (e.g. Maine Coon, Labrador), and it clusters pets alongside people:

When you want to look back on old photos of Oliver as a puppy or Mr. Whiskers as a kitten, you no longer need to type “dog” or “cat” into search in Google Photos. Rolling out in most countries today, you’ll be able to see photos of the cats and dogs now grouped alongside people, and you can label them by name, search to quickly find photos of them, or even better, photos of you and them. This makes it even easier to create albums, movies, or even a photo book of your pet.

Also, don’t forget to check your Assistant to see whether you’ve received a deliriously cornball-soundtracked pet movie. [Via

New Live Photos hotness in Google Photos, Motion Stills

Motion Stills lets you make stabilized multi-clip movies, animated collages, loops, and more from Live Photos. Now version 2.0 for iOS adds 

  • Capture Motion Stills right inside the app.
  • Capture and save Live Photos on any device.
  • Swipe left to delete Motion Stills in the stream.
  • Export collages as GIFs.

The app’s available on Android, too. Android Police writes, “It’s is essentially a GIF camera, but the app stabilizes the video while you’re recording. You can record for a few seconds, or use the fast-forward mode to speed up and stabilize longer videos.”

Not to be outdone, Google Photos on Web, iOS, and Android now displays Live Photos as well as Motion Photos from the new Pixel 2, giving you a choice of whether to display the still or moving portion of the capture. Here’s a quick sample on the Web. Note the Motion On/Off toggle up top.

I’m thrilled to have joined the team behind Motion Stills, so please let us know what you think & what else you’d like to see!

“I hate Google Photos”—but in a good way!

Heh—nice to see concept movies (assembled from thematically related pics/vids) really resonating with this Reddit user:

You made a grown ass man cry like a baby by automatically making a video titled “They grow up so fast”.. which has about 45 clips of videos with my daughter in it.. aged around 4-5 months to 22 months (current).

I have watched that 3 minute long video 3 times so far.. first time while I cried like a baby.. next two times with my jaw dropped due to the technology that made this possible.

I got one of these myself on Saturday, and now my mom & wife can’t stop watching our Henry Seamus grow from cooing blob to fun-sized weirdo. Cue gratuitous showing!

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[YouTube]

Check out the new Backup and Sync for Google Photos and Google Drive

“Simpler, speedier and more reliable”—I can get behind that:

This new tool replaces the existing Google Photos desktop uploader and Drive for Mac/PC.

Backup and Sync is an app for Mac and PC that backs up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos, so they’re no longer trapped on your computer and other devices. Just choose the folders you want to back up, and we’ll take care of the rest.

Check out the help center if you need details—but generally it should be set it, forget it, get (optionally) free unlimited photo storage.

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[Via]

Automatically share photos of specific people via Google Photos

Computer vision FTW!

Bad old world: Even though I’m standing next to my wife while she snaps pics of our kids, it’s only if Facebook buzzes my phone that I see what she took & shared. The rest remain a mystery.

Good new world: Every photo I take of the kids can be automatically shared with her, and vice versa. 

With shared libraries, sending and receiving photos with one person is effortless—you can automatically share your full photo library or customize just what you want to share. Suggested sharing uses machine learning to automatically identify photos and suggest recipients, making sharing as simple as a single tap. 

I’ve been waiting for this for years. Setup is super simple: pick your partner, select people to share (or whole library), send invite; goodness ensues. You can check out the details here, and you can use the feature now on iOS, Android, and Web. Enjoy!

Google Photos now helps you weed out crud

Auto-hide (but don’t delete) pictures of receipts, whiteboards, etc.? Cool:

To help you quickly find and organize those photos you want to save but don’t necessarily want to often see among your memorable moments, beginning today you may see a suggestion in the Assistant tab with pre-selected photos to help you quickly archive these photos. You can review the suggestions and remove any photos you don’t want archived, and tap to confirm when you’re done.

You can also archive individual images anytime. Select the photos you want to remove from the main gallery without deleting them from your library, just tap the three dots, and choose “Archive.”

You can find archived photos anytime under “Archive” in the left hand nav, view them in albums and find them via search.

This feature is rolling out today for both Android and iOS users as well as the desktop version of Google Photos. Check it out!

Doesn’t yet auto-suggest hiding pictures of exes. 😉

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[Via]

You can now make beautiful books in Google Photos

Available today on iOS and Android:

Create and print photo books

  • Beautiful hardcover and softcover books—perfect for every occasion.
  • Make it in minutes, not hours, with automatic photo curation and easy customization.
  • Made in the USA from premium, responsibly-sourced paper.

I can confirm from personal experience that the books are really nice. (My son Henry loves the one I made by searching for him + trains.) 

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