Sat. May 18th, 2024

Use natural language to ask questions about your photos.

Google Photos was one of the first apps to introduce an AI-powered image search function with facial recognition and object identification. Now that every other gallery app has copied this feature, Google is stepping its game up with a more robust “Ask Photos” tool.

This new tool is effectively just a Gemini chatbot built into Google Photos. Still, it seems useful, as it allows you to utilize narrow search terms or refine a photo search using natural language. Instead of searching “birthday parties,” for example, you might ask the AI to “remind me what themes we’ve had for Lena’s birthday parties.” Google Photos will surface all relevant images and provide a text-based response to your query—in this case, it will try to tell you the theme for each birthday party.

Google provided a screenshot of this query in action. Not only does Ask Photos pull up the correct images, but it identifies Lena’s age and details the themes for four of her birthday parties.

Of course, this AI feature isn’t magic. In the above example, the AI knows Lena’s age because her parents bought and took pictures of numbered balloons. It recognizes Lena’s face because her parents have manually identified her in Google Photos. And it knows that an image containing cake or presents is probably from a birthday party, rather than just a random Tuesday. While the Ask Photos feature is clearly useful, it won’t always be perfect.

In the past, this Google Photos update would have been a minor announcement at I/O. But today’s two-hour I/O keynote was shockingly uneventful. Google announced a dozen developer-focused flavors of the Gemini model, revealed a bunch of “new” Gemini features that already existed in Search or Assistant, and repeatedly suggested that people use Gemini to shop for shoes or plane tickets. It was even stranger than the press event that OpenAI hosted yesterday.

This new Photos integration was a shining light during the I/O keynote—it’s a new feature that seems to be genuinely useful. Google says that Ask Photos will roll out “soon” as an experimental feature but hasn’t provided an exact timeframe for its release.

Source: Google

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By John P.

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