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Google’s new Photos features try to declutter your library

Google’s new Photos features try to declutter your library


Photo Stacks combine similar photos into a single entry on the main screen, and the app is getting better at categorizing your documents into subcategories.

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A series of photos of people and documents.
As the amount we store in image form increases, so does the need to categorize it.
Image: Google

Google’s latest features for its Photos app on iOS and Android are an attempt to tame an unruly gallery filled with duplicate photos, endless screenshots, and photos of receipts and ID cards.

The first feature, called Photo Stacks, automatically groups similar photos that were taken close together into a single panel in your gallery. It’s a handy feature if, like me, you tend to “spray and pray” when taking photographs in the hope that at least one of them turns out okay. Although Google says its software will attempt to pick out the best of the collection to show in your gallery, thankfully, you can also make your own top pick. You can also manually modify the stacks or turn the feature off entirely if you want to be faced with the terrifying reality of how many selfies you take in a single sitting.

animation showing photo stacks in action
Each stack is an attempt to group together similar images.
Image: Google

Next is a handy shortcut that lets you create calendar entries from images like a screenshot of an event ticket or a photo of a flyer. In a short animation, Google shows how you can tap a “set reminder” button when viewing a digital ticket to access the feature. Google Photos will then bring up an entry form to create a calendar event that’s auto-populated with details from the ticket, like the event’s start time and date. You can then add more information to the calendar entry, which will contain a link back to the image that spawned it.

List of document categories in Photos.
The subcategories of documents.
Image: Google
Screenshot of calendar entry being created from Google Photos.
The calendar entry will auto-populate with some details and let you fill in the rest.
Image: Google

Finally, Photos is also getting better at categorizing any documents or written information you’re storing in image form. The document row in the search tab will now automatically sort relevant photos into subcategories like “event information,” “identity” (including photos of ID cards), and “receipts,” which should hopefully make them easier to pull out the next time you need to quickly reference them.

Google says the new features are starting to roll out now across its mobile Photos apps, and users have already reported being able to access the Photo Stacks and calendar entry creation feature.