Google Photos adds story-like ‘Memories’ and soon built-in picture messaging

Inline with what we’ve been tracking for the past several weeks, Google Photos today announced a slew of updates. Inside the app, there is a new stories-esque Memories feature that lives above the gallery, and message-esque sharing in the coming months.


“Memories” looks very similar to the carousel of stories at the top of Instagram. The Google Photos Memories feature shows photos and videos from previous years in a familiar full-screen format where users tap right to advance. Each year gets its own story, with the latest at the left.

The company strongly emphasizes how Memories in Google Photos are “privately presented” in contrast to the “stories format from social media.” This allows you to “sit back and enjoy some of your best moments” in private. A share button in the top-right corner allows you to bring up the standard Photos share sheet for individual pictures and videos.

Machine learning is leveraged to remove duplicate shots and only surface the “best ones,” based on quality and smiling subjects. Google added a feature where certain people and time periods can be hidden, while Memories can be disabled entirely from settings. The new feature will begin rolling out today.

Group sharing

Google is planning a “streamlined sharing” feature in the coming months focused on family and friends. Photos can be added to an “ongoing, private conversation, so there’s one place to find the photos you’ve shared with each other.”

The service is essentially adding messaging within the share sheet through a new “Share within Google Photos” carousel. New groups can be created here, with past ones and people quickly selectable.

Text is supported for commenting, with liking also available as a quick response. Other pictures shared here can be saved to your own library. Unlike Google Photos Memories, this feature is coming later.

Text search

Google today is also making official the ability to search for text that appears in images:

To make it easy to find photos or screenshots that contain text — like a recipe — you can now search by the text in your photos. When you feel nostalgic for home cooking you can just search “carrot cake” and find your mom’s recipe right away.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: