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Google Photos Adds Tons of Memory-Building (And Memory-Hiding) Features

Illustrations of Google Photos new features.

Most of the 4 trillion images in Google Photos are never viewed. To help people look back through their gigabytes of pictures, Google Photos is expanding its Memories slideshows tool and updating Cinematic Photos to animate more “3D images” from the past. Interestingly, Google Photos is also adding features to help hide Memories or tuck photos behind a private vault.

Memories is one of the most popular Google Photos features, as it automatically collects images of certain people, places, events, or pets into cute slideshows. Now, Memories will start building slideshows of loosely-associated photos based on objects or colors. In an example provided by Google (seen below), Photos build a slideshow based on the “Adventures of the Orange Backpack.”

Later this year, Memories will build slideshows of Trip highlights. It will also collect Memories of Diwali, Lunar New Year, Hanukkah, and other holidays. The algorithm previously supported Christmas, but did not offer an inclusive list of holidays and cultural events.


Launched last year, Google’s Cinematic Photos feature turns regular images into moving, 3D experiences. Google is now using computational photography to make Cinematic Photos even more lifelike. If you take a group of nearly-identical images (you know, three or four pictures of someone blowing out candles), Google will bring the photos together in a video, using AI to fill in the gaps between each frame. These videos will appear in your Recent Highlights feed whenever you take a series of near-identical photos.


But some memories just aren’t worth looking back on. In its blog, Google mentions that it’s received feedback from tons of users, especially those in the transgender community, who don’t want to look back at the past but don’t want to delete old photos. Later this summer, Google will make it easier to hide photos of specific people or time periods. And starting now, Photos lets users delete Memories, rename Memories, remove specific photos from Memories, and prevent Memories from building slideshows of events or holidays that you don’t celebrate.

Photos is also debuting a Locked folder, which hides photos behind a password-protected vault. This feature will arrive on Pixel photos first but eventually find its way to other devices. Pixel users will also have the option to send images to their locked folder straight from the camera.

Google Photos newest features make the service much more compelling, and gives users granular control over what they see. These much-needed updates should help the service maintain popularity even as Google imposes limits to free accounts—a controversial turn from its original free and unlimited service.

Source: Google I/O 2021, Google Photos Announcement

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »