Ask Photos Will Make it Easier to Navigate Your Google Photos

Google’s latest I/O conference was an absolute slurry of AI promises. The company took so many stabs with new AI models, showing off new AI capabilities that integrate Gemini into every single Google product or service under the sun. But take enough shots, and the law of averages says at least one will hit the mark. Using the Gemini AI, the upcoming “Ask Photos” feature could make diving into the labyrinth of albums in Google Photos far easier.

As detailed by Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai during his company’s annual showcase, the feature would essentially use AI to search through your massive photo albums for you. You can use keywords to try and stumble through what could be years of images, photos, and memes to find the single one you need. Google claimed that with a single prompt, Google’s Gemini model would look through your photos more precisely than your usual needle-in-haystack queries.

The Gemini AI in Ask Photos can interpret images and read text inside them. For instance, if you’re looking for your car’s license plate among a slew of car pics stuffed in your Photos app, the AI will have a much better idea of which is your vehicle based on how often the car appears in your albums and in which context. Pichai said that Ask Photos is so good that it could even interpret life events based on your pictures, such as telling you when your daughter first learned to swim.

In a blog post, Google Photos engineer Jeremy Selier said that it builds on the existing AI keywords feature that’s been on the app for a while now. Instead of needing to come up with the right keywords, simply asking your phone for all the photos taken at a national park will bring up all the relevant photos, plus give you a rundown of which parks you visited.

The AI should also be able to comprehend the photos you’ve taken over the years. In one example, the AI could explain the different themes of a child’s birthdays done over the years. Selier wrote that the AI essentially picks out the correct keywords for you before doing its search through your photos.

Although the demos did look pretty good, it’s still AI, and AI tends to get things wrong. The company said that Ask Photos is “experimental,” the monicker Google gives to pretty much all its AI projects, no matter what state they’re in. Selier said Ask Photos will remember the corrections you give it in the future, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make some other mistake in another prompt.

The feature should be arriving “in the coming months,” though that’s a rather vague time frame that fits in with the rest of Google’s nebulous AI announcements at this year’s I/O. At the very least, Ask Photos seems far more useful than an early AI video generator or even more Gemini integration into Google Workspace.

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