❤ What’s new on Google Photos

Table of Contents



Google Photos adds 12 new video effects for Pixel, Google One 

While we wait for Magic Editor, Google Photos is adding new effects to make videos “pop” with one of 12 different styles that just requires a tap.








The current Google Photos video editor on phones, which dates back to 2021, lets you trim/stabilize, crop/rotate, adjust (brightness, contrast, etc.), apply filters (Eiffel, Playa, etc.), and mark up (pen/highlighter). There’s now a new “Effects” tab with 12 options:

  • Dust mix
  • Paper tear
  • B&W film
  • Lomo
  • Light leak
  • Film mood
  • Chromatic
  • Fish eye
  • Vintage
  • Layouts
  • Retro film
  • Poster









Each comes with a style preview in the thumbnail, but you can very quickly just apply them to your clip and see it in action.

Meanwhile, the video editor in the Google Photos app on Chromebooks was recently also overhauled, while the general UI has been optimized for tablets with a side pane layout.

Google announced on July 06, 2023 that these new video effects are rolling out in the Photos app for Pixel owners and Google One subscribers.

Google Photos website adding advanced editing tools from Google One





Google usually prioritizes its Android and iOS apps when adding new features, but Google Photos on the web is now adding advanced editing Google One tools.

Longtime staples of the mobile apps, Portrait Light, Portrait Blur, Dynamic, Color Pop, HDR, and Sky are now coming to photos.google.com. The UI is mostly the same with a new Tools top tab.

  • Portrait Light: Change the position and brightness of lighting in photos with people
  • Portrait Blur: Blur the background on certain photos of people not captured in portrait mode
  • Color Pop: Desaturate the background, while keeping the foreground color for photos of people
  • HDR: Enhance brightness and contrast across the image
  • Sky: Select from several palettes and adjust the color and contrast in the sky

This addition is for Google One subscribers with even the $1.99 per month 100 GB tier unlocking the extra Google Photos editing features; “4 GB RAM and an updated browser” are required to get these tools.

We’re not seeing this rolled out just yet on accounts we checked; there is no Magic Eraser in the example Google shared.






Google Photos can recognize people from the back in some cases

Google Photos is a very impressive app and useful service for a number of reasons, not least of which is its excellent facial recognition for grouping photos. Suddenly, though, Google Photos is somehow able to recognize people from the back, which is super useful, but also super confusing.

As spotted by the folks over at Android Authority, Google Photos has recently picked up the ability to recognize people from the back, without their face being clearly visible.

The outlet’s Rita El Khoury found that her husband was recognized by Photos where he was facing completely away from the camera, with his face not visible at all. Google Photos was, somehow, recognizing him and automatically tagging him as the subject of these photos, and with a level of accuracy too. It was also being applied to photos that had been uploaded both recently and years prior.

It doesn’t seem to work 100% of the time, though, with manual tagging still available. It’s also brought out that in many cases Photos will show the recognized face as “available to add” rather than just adding it fully. And, in a lot of cases, it still just fails entirely.

I was able to replicate this with at least two photos of my wife, which also helped reveal how the app might be doing this.

From what I can tell, and Rita brings out the same idea, this seems to be based on context. Photos will tag the “face” appropriately based on the context of other photos in the same setting or clothing where the face is visible. In the case with my wife, the photos that worked were taken around the same time as photos were I could also see her face.

While this doesn’t seem to be working across the board, it’s certainly a helpful little tweak.

Google Photos for Android getting settings redesign

The settings page for Google Photos on Android has always been particularly overwhelming, and it’s now seeing a much-needed redesign.

Instead of a list that did not fit into one screen, Google Photos now groups various settings into six high-level menus with (reused) outline-style icons.

  • Backup: Unchanged
  • Notifications: Unchanged
  • Preferences: Group similar faces, Memories, Photo grid playback
  • Sharing: Partner sharing, Hide video from motion photos, Skipped suggestions, Notifications
  • Apps & devices: This device (with Free up device storage), Photo frames, SD card access
  • Privacy: Location options, Google Lens, Sharing options, Group similar faces, Photo frames (repeat)

At the bottom, you conveniently get the version and “About.” In lists, Google has removed the line separators between each item. They are now reserved for groupings, while the toggles aren’t M3 components.







We’re seeing the settings redesign with version 6.39 of Google Photos for Android, but it’s not yet rolled out to all devices. It will be interesting to see whether this approach is adopted by all first-party apps going forward as part of Material You, which would be nice for consistency. The spareness of the layout feels inline with the design language.







New animated Material 3 carousel coming to Google Photos





As work on Material 3 continues, Google now offers a delightful new carousel component. It might look like the wallpaper shortcut when you long press on the Pixel Launcher, but only the shape is similar there. The full carousel is quite animated.

Rather than having all the images in the carousel be of equal size, “items expand and shrink as they’re scrolled,” with their shapes changing from something close to a rounded square (large) to receptacles (medium) and vertical pills (small). Google emphasizes how developers should “avoid setting carousel items so small that the image isn’t recognizable,” with slivers discouraged.

After being scrolled, carousel items snap into place to maintain the same layout.






On mobile, you might see (from left to right) a large, medium, and small carousel item. On a tablet, it might be large, large, medium, and small.

Google notes how “carousel items move at a different speed than their content, creating a parallax effect,” and it supports an optional text label that’s just a few characters.





This new carousel leans into the most expressive parts — “Spirited” in the Making Material You series — of Material 3, including “drawing from the rounded corners of the Material shape system, and the smooth, responsive flow from the Material motion system.”

It uses adaptive shape morphing and dynamic scrolling to create a parallax effect to give users a unique and fresh experience for a familiar pattern.

Image carousels are the most obvious example, but Google mocked it up for news headlines and even music apps on now playing screens.

With Material Design Components for Android going stable this week, developers can more comfortably adopt it. In terms of first-party apps, the first implementation will be in Google Photos, presumably for the Memories carousel at the top of the app today.