Google Photos

Smart Search

Finding Pictures Quickly

One of the biggest advantages of Google Photos? Intelligent search! In this lesson, we'll learn the following:

  1. Explore search features

  2. Learn how computers use information details stored alongside your pictures

  3. Undestand how to improve search results

The Power of Search

It makes sense that Google, the company that perfected Internet search, would also be the leader in helping you find your pictures.

Google uses their vast resources in artificial intelligence to identify people, pets, places and things in your photos. Powerful search algorithms then harvest this information to help you find that specific photo; fast.

How Many Photos?

Let's combine a search with a few features we've just learned to discover how many photos we've added recently. Here's how:

  1. Type the year in the search bar, and then press the matching auto-suggest for the year.

  2. On your smartphone:

    1. Pinch zoom out to Month view.

    2. Press the select checkmark at the top of the current month. The screen displays the number of pictures you've taken this month at the top left.

    3. Scroll down and select the check on the previous month.

    4. Repeat this for each month of the year.

  3. On your computer:

    1. Scroll to the very bottom of the matching photos.

    2. Select the last picture.

    3. Go back to the top and <Shift> select the first picture

How many pictures have you collected this year?

Flexible Search

You can be as general or specific as you wish:

  • Search for combinations of people, things, places and dates.

  • Search by colour or by content type (picture, video, etc.)

  • Use one of the handy predefined searches, like, Recently added, or Screenshots.

By improving your search skills, you'll never have to hung for that cherished photo again!

Layered Search

Use the search screen features to incrementally narrow down your search results. For example, if you select a specific person, you will get a results screen of all their photos. Then, you can choose additional search filters to narrow things down even further.

Like the Photo view, the Search results are organized in reverse chronological date, with the most recent pictures at the top. Again, pressing on any image will open it in the Photo Viewer for further review or editing.

How Does it Work?

In addition to cutting-edge image recognition technology, Google Photos uses metadata, the information stored alongside each photo, to help organize and find your pictures quickly.

You can see this information by opening your photo in the Photo Viewer and swiping upwards on the screen. (On a computer, press the info button).

Your camera records all sorts of information about the image, including things like:

  • The date and time you took the picture

  • Any descriptions you may have added

  • The location where you took the picture

  • The picture size and quality

  • The model of the camera and camera settings that you used

To help your device find your photos, it's always a great idea to feed the machine with as much detail as possible. Don't turn off these features on your phone or camera!

Name Your People

Google has spent a lot of money on world-leading facial and image recognition. To make the most of this powerful feature, start naming your people:

  1. Locate People and pets on the Explore screen.

  2. Choose the View all link to access the complete list of identified faces.

  3. Start naming the recognized people and pets from your photos. Use full names to avoid confusion as your collection grows.

Check to see that you've also turned on these helpful settings:

  • Turn on Face grouping

  • Select your face to help contacts recognize you

  • Turn on Show pets with people

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