Google Photos getting new ways to spice up your pics

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Google Photos uses AI to generate “cinematic moments” that create a moving image from two related shots.


Google Photos has new AI-powered techniques that add pep to recent and old photos, new features designed to make the search giant’s photography services more appealing. The company introduced the features at its Google I/O developer conference on Tuesday.

One option, called cinematic moments, uses artificial intelligence algorithms to combine two photos taken of the same scene into a motion-infused shot. It’s an upgrade to the cinematic photos Google added in 2020.

Another option coming this summer will spot recurring patterns across your photo library and generate a collection of shots it thinks are related. Alphabet-owned Google gave the example of an orange back that repeatedly occurs in a photo library that are organized into a collection of trips. A third option arriving later this year will show you photos related to holiday events.

Such features can be important. For you, it can mean those thousands of photos you’ve taken become an active part of your life instead of a forgotten archive. For Google, it provides an incentive for users to sign up for Google Photos instead of using a rival service or none at all.

More Google Photos means money for the search giant, too, as it rolls back previously free services.

Google Photos arrived at I/O 2015 with unlimited storage of compressed but still high quality versions of your photos. Starting in June, though, Google Photos’ free storage is limited to 15 gigabytes. While you might not like paying $3 per month for 200 gigabytes of Google storage, paid services can respect your privacy better than free but ad-supported alternatives.

Nostalgic photos can be nice. But Google also wants to let people avoid memories they don’t want to revisit. “We specifically heard from the transgender community that resurfacing certain photos is painful, so we’ve been working with our partners at GLAAD and listening to feedback to make reminiscing more inclusive,” Google said in a blog post. Google Photos already has some controls to let you hide photos of particular people or time periods. It will add new controls and make them easier to find this summer.

Google also will add abilities to manage photo collections of specific events. A feature called Locked Folder arriving later this year will offer a passcode-protected photo storage space that’s partitioned so photos will be hidden from your photo timeline and from other photo apps.

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