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Google Photos will soon give you more say in those AI-created video highlights

Google Photos will soon give you more say in those AI-created video highlights


With the latest Google Photos update, you can prompt AI-generated videos by searching for specific tags like location or featured people.

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An illustration of the Google logo.
Illustration: The Verge

You know that thing in Apple Photos and Google Photos where they’ll just randomly generate a generically titled video slideshow that sometimes includes just the worst pictures? Google says that, soon, you’ll be able to ask Google Photos to make them for you! The company will start rolling out an update that lets you choose the parameters for the videos you want the app to make instead of just passively waiting for them to happen to you.

Even if the app still sometimes makes objectively bad choices for the videos it creates, this is a great update. In fact, it’s one of those features that, if you weren’t immediately annoyed it wasn’t there all along, you might see this news and think, “Hey, yeah, why is this just now happening?”

A gif showing the creation process of Google Photos’ highlight videos.
Google Photos will let you tell it what videos you want it to make.
GIF: Google

Here’s the way it works: You search for the content you want — the people, places, or activities you’d like Google Photos to scan for and include. Then, the app will pick the pictures it thinks fit, slap some music on it, and sync everything for you. Once you get the video, Google says you can trim clips, rearrange them, or swap out music for something better.

Before now, you could create these videos, but you had to search for and manually select the content you wanted in them. This seems like a nice middle ground between that and waiting for the videos to happen to you and then tweaking them afterward.

If you don’t have the feature tomorrow, that’s par for the course — Google tends to roll new features out over time rather than drop them all at once. We asked the company whether this is coming to the web, supported OS versions, editing capabilities, and what other tags might work for this. (Can you search for “puppy” and reminisce with an AI-generated video of your good dog when it was just a sweet, fresh ball of fur? I sure hope so.) We’ll update this story when we know more.

Hopefully, Apple will snatch up this feature for the iPhone, too.