AI

Google Photos update adds new Memories and a Locked Folder, previews Cinematic moments

Comment

Image Credits: Google

Google announced a series of upgrades to its Google Photos service, used by more than a billion users, at today’s Google I/O developer event, which was virtually streamed this year due to COVID. The company is rolling out Locked Folders, new types of photo “Memories” for reminiscing over past events, as well as a new feature called “Cinematic moments” that will animate a series of static photos, among other updates.

Today, Google Photos stores over 4 trillion photos and videos, but the majority of those are never viewed. To change that, Google has been developing AI-powered features to help its users reflect on meaningful moments from their lives. With Memories, launched in 2019, Google Photos is able to resurface photos and videos focused on people, activities and hobbies as well as recent highlights from the week prior.

At Google I/O, the company announced it’s adding a new type of Memory, which it’s calling “little patterns.” Using machine learning, little patterns looks for a set of three or more photos with similarities, like shape or color, which it then highlights as a pattern for you.

Image Credits: Google

For example, when one of Google’s engineers traveled the world with their favorite orange backpack, Google Photos was able to identify a pattern where that backpack was featured in photos from around the globe. But patterns may also be simple family photos that are often snapped in the same room with an identifiable piece of furniture, like the living room couch. On their own, these photos may not seem like much, but when they’re combined over time, they can produce some interesting compilations.

Google will also be adding Best of Month Memories and Trip highlights to the your photo grid, which you’ll now be able to remove or rename, as well as Memories featuring events you celebrate, like birthdays or holidays. These events will be identified based on a combination of factors, Google says. This includes by identifying objects in the photos — like a birthday cake or a Hanukkah menorah, for example — as well as by matching up the date of the photo with known holidays.

Image Credits: Google

Best of Month and Trip highlight Memories will start to roll out today and will be found in the photo grid itself. Later this year, you’ll begin to see Memories related to the events and moments you celebrate.

Image Credits: Google

Another forthcoming addition is Cinematic Moments, which is somewhat reminiscent of the “deep nostalgia” technology from MyHeritage that went viral earlier this year, as users animated the photos of long-past loved ones. Except in Google’s case, it’s not taking an old photo and bringing it to life, it’s stitching together a series of photos to create a sense of action and movement.

MyHeritage now lets you animate old family photos using deepfakery

Google explains that, often, people will take multiple photos of the same moment in order to get one “good” image they can share. This is especially true when trying to capture something in motion — like a small child or a pet who can’t sit still.

Image Credits: Google

These new Cinematic moments build on the Cinematic photos feature Google launched in December 2020, which uses machine learning to create vivid, 3D versions of your photos. Using computational photography and neural networks to stitch together a series of near-identical photos, Google Photos will be able to create vivid, moving images by filling in the gaps in between your photos to create new frames. This feature doesn’t have a launch date at this time.

Of course, not all past moments are worthy of revisiting, for a variety of reasons. While Google already offered tools to hide certain photos and time periods from your Memories, it’s continuing to add new controls and, later this summer, will make it easier to access its existing toolset. One key area of focus has been working with the transgender community, who have said that revisiting their old photos can be painful.

Soon, users will also be able to remove a single photo from a Memory, remove their Best of Month Memories, and rename and remove Memories based on the events they celebrate, too.

Image Credits: Google

Another useful addition to Google Photos is the new Locked Folder, which is simply a passcode-protected space for private photos. Many users automatically sync their phone’s photos to Google’s cloud, but then want to pull up photos to show to others through the app on their phone or even their connected TV. That can be difficult if their galleries are filled with private photos, of course.

Image Credits: Google

This particular feature will launch first on Pixel devices, where users will have the option to save photos and videos directly from their camera to the Locked folder. Other Android devices will get the update later in the year.

More TechCrunch

The European venture capital firm raised its fourth fund as fund as climate tech “comes of age.”

ETF Partners raises €284M for climate startups that will be effective quickly — not 20 years down the road

Copilot, Microsoft’s brand of generative AI, will soon be far more deeply integrated into the Windows 11 experience.

Microsoft wants to make Windows an AI operating system, launches Copilot+ PCs

“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine.”

Scarlett Johansson says that OpenAI approached her to use her voice

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. For those who haven’t heard, the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner capsule has been pushed back yet again to no earlier than…

TechCrunch Space: Star(side)liner

When I attended Automate in Chicago a few weeks back, multiple people thanked me for TechCrunch’s semi-regular robotics job report. It’s always edifying to get that feedback in person. While…

These 81 robotics companies are hiring

The top vehicle safety regulator in the U.S. has launched a formal probe into an April crash involving the all-electric VinFast VF8 SUV that claimed the lives of a family…

VinFast crash that killed family of four now under federal investigation

When putting a video portal in a public park in the middle of New York City, some inappropriate behavior will likely occur. The Portal, the vision of Lithuanian artist and…

NYC-Dublin real-time video portal reopens with some fixes to prevent inappropriate behavior

Longtime New York-based seed investor, Contour Venture Partners, is making progress on its latest flagship fund after lowering its target. The firm closed on $42 million, raised from 64 backers,…

Contour Venture Partners, an early investor in Datadog and Movable Ink, lowers the target for its fifth fund

Meta’s Oversight Board has now extended its scope to include the company’s newest platform, Instagram Threads, and has begun hearing cases from Threads.

Meta’s Oversight Board takes its first Threads case

The company says it’s refocusing and prioritizing fewer initiatives that will have the biggest impact on customers and add value to the business.

SeekOut, a recruiting startup last valued at $1.2 billion, lays off 30% of its workforce

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender SoLo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back