Google Photos Update Tackles The Photographer's Biggest Headache

Just in time for spring cleaning, Google has announced an update to Google Photos, made specifically to help you organize your folders a little better. The update brings with it several new features oriented around sorting your photos and screenshots, as well as a quality-of-life improvement in the way your files will be displayed. Although the changes are small on the surface, the layout update is quite significant.

The new updates affect three different things: the library tab, the sharing tab, and the way Google Photos handles your screenshots. The app now also allows for importing your photos from other locations, making it easier to consolidate all pictures into just one app as opposed to having to use several. Of course, Google Photos can only handle so many photos — the free app has a 15GB storage limit, but this is shared across other Google services, such as Drive and Gmail. If that's not enough for you, you may have to look into upgrading to Google One, which offers subscription plans ranging from 100GB of storage to 2TB.

Whether you're a paying customer or not, the new Google Photos update affects all Android users and will be rolling out this week. Google is also planning to bring these features to iOS users, but it hasn't specified when that is going to happen.

Google Photos just got a whole lot tidier

In its previous iteration, Google Photos had its perks, but could also be a bit of a headache to use. The Library tab, which is where you'd look through your photo albums, was a mess to sort through. If you enjoy having a lot of folders and use Google Photos extensively, you've probably gone through the struggle of trying to locate one specific photo in a sea of other pictures. The Sharing tab was in a similar state. While the app was fairly intuitive, it wasn't very organized, which is presumably why Google decided to work on it.

For a start, the Library tab just got a whole lot easier to navigate. The layout now allows you to choose between a grid and a list of photos, and additional filters have been added to make sorting through them easier. You can filter by type, such as albums, shared albums, on-device folders, or favorites, and sort them accordingly. Underneath the grid, Google Photos added the feature we mentioned above — Import Photos. This section was made to help you transfer photos from other sources and digitize physical photos that you have tucked away in photo albums.

Not groundbreaking, but a step in the right direction

The Sharing tab also got a whole lot tidier. Google added separate sections for shared albums, conversations, and partner sharing. This makes it easier to navigate between photos shared by other people. As a final move toward decluttering, the company has also decided to do away with screenshots — at least to an extent. Users of Google Pixel phones or other Android devices know that screenshots land in their own device folder. As of now, you can choose to not back that folder up in the gallery, saving a little space for the photos that matter.

Google has also teased an update that it plans to bring to Android: contextual suggestions for screenshots. The new feature will automatically suggest options such as copying text right from a screenshot, cropping it, or searching it via Google Lens. This should make screenshots easier to edit if required as opposed to having to use additional software after viewing the snap.

There are no groundbreaking updates to Google Photos, but in all fairness, not much can be done to fully revolutionize an app that already works well. These steps toward quality-of-life changes are the right move for Google and will most likely be welcomed by the users.