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Google revamps search in its Photos app for Android

You can also now customize the mini-movies the app automatically creates.
Nathan Ingraham
April 28, 2016
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Google Photos is one of the best apps out there for backing up and searching through the massive amount of pictures we all take with our smartphones. One of its best features is search, which lets you use natural language to quickly find specific kinds of pictures, photos taken in specific locations or photos of specific people. Today, the Android version of Google Photos is putting search even more up front. Instead of accessing it via the material design search button in the lower right corner of the app, you now access it through a persistent search bar that's always at the top of the screen.

The layout of the search page once you tap that bar is a bit different, as well. Previously, Google showed you people, places and things (dogs, cars, concerts, etc) by default. Now, there's a new section called "types" that is more focused on the different categories of things you shoot -- videos, selfies, screenshots and so forth. To be honest, I'm not a fan of that change at first glance. It looks like there's no way to see the different "things" view that Google Photos used to feature, and I always enjoyed looking through the various categories that Google was able to recognize from my pictures. Fortunately, search itself works the same way, so I can just search "food" if I want to see the ridiculous number of dinner photos I've taken over the years.

Beyond the revamped search experience, Google also added a new feature that lets you customize the movies the app automatically generates with your photos and videos. You can revamp them by picking specific videos and photos as well as adding your own music rather than the generic default tunes the app features. For now, these features are Android-only, but Google says they'll be coming to the iOS app soon.

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