If your Google Photos library is an unruly mess of screenshots, photos and other digital detritus, then a new app update could be about to restore some order – if you’re an Android user.
As spotted by Googlenws.ru, some new hidden functions in the latest version of the Google Photos Android app (version 184.108.40.2068376309) could soon deliver a clearer way of organizing your Library, along with fresh ways to import snaps.
The main change is in the Library tab, where the Archive, Personal Folder, Tools and Trash icons have been shunted down the page to make way for a helpful new carousel of tabs. These include All, My Albums, On Device and Shared Albums.
Those folders look like a clearer way to filter your snaps, based on where they’re stored. The ‘All’ tab naturally includes snaps that are stored locally on your phone and in the cloud, while ‘On Device’ is just your phone-stored photos.
‘My Albums’ takes you to cloud-based albums, and you can also switch to only albums that you’ve shared with others by going to the ‘Shared Albums’ tab. Below these tabs are handy separate folders for screenshots and snaps taken on your phone.
In the current versions of the Android and iOS apps, it also isn’t immediately obvious how to import snaps to Google Photos from other services. That’s likely why Google has added a new ‘Import Photos’ option in the Library tab, which takes you to a variety of new useful options.
These include a ‘Copy from other services’ option, which will let you import snaps from the likes of Facebook and iCloud from within the app, plus ‘Copy from a camera’ to let you grab photos from a connected camera. Another beta option, ‘request photos from friends’, will apparently let you send friends a link to ask for the photos they’ve forgotten to share with you.
Google is making it easier to bring printed photos into your library, too. The ‘scan photos with your phone’ option will take you to the PhotoScan app, although this is still a separate app rather than being built into Google Photos.
All of these features are currently only available to a small circle of Google Photos users who have the latest version (220.127.116.118376309), but should be rolling out more widely soon.
Analysis: A helpful Google Photos reshuffle
While it isn’t a major redesign of the Google Photos Android app, this update could bring some much-needed filters and import tools to the smartphone experience – if it ever gets a widespread rollout.
The new Library tabs should make it quicker to filter your snaps based on where they’re stored, rather by the traditional ‘favorites’ route. That could be particularly helpful if you use Google Photos’ ‘Back up and sync’ function to store copies of your phone snaps in the cloud.
It’s also good to see Google Photos offer more options for importing photos from within the app itself, even if some of these do already exist in different menus. It’s currently a slight pain to transfer snaps from the likes of iCloud, so being able to add them to your library from within the Google Photos app could prove popular.
What isn’t yet clear is when (or if) these updates, which are currently in the testing phase, will roll out to more users. Not all features that are beta tested make their way to the final app, but hopefully these ones will arrive soon on Android and (much later, no doubt) on iOS.
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Mark is the Cameras Editor at TechRadar. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he’s contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won the Daily Telegraph’s Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London’s Square Mile.