Face Detection in Google Photos App Now Recognizes Cats and Dogs by Name

Google updated its Photos app on Monday with a new facial recognition feature that lets users organize pictures of their family pets more easily.

Since it was launched, Google Photos has employed facial recognition to identify humans and help users sort their snaps by friend or family member, similar to how Faces works in Apple Photos.

The latest version of Google's own photos app builds on its face detection feature by recognizing cats and dogs by name, so users no longer need to type in "cat" or "dog" into the search field to bring up the relevant pictures.

Going forward, simply labeling a photo of a furry friend will cause any other photos of the cat or dog to be grouped under that name, just like they do for people.

In addition to the pet grouping feature, Google says users can also now "search by breed to see photos of your Poodle or Maine Coon", or even search using a single cat or dog emoji.

The new pet detection naturally feeds into the app's automated movie generator, found in the Assistant view, and users can create their own short films by tapping on the new photo group of their pet, selecting their favorite pictures, and tapping the "+" symbol.

Google has also included six "pet-inspired songs" to choose from in the movie editor to be twinned with four-legged family collections.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google Backup and Sync App Updated With APFS Support for Macs Running High Sierra

Google this morning quietly updated its Backup and Sync client app with APFS support for Macs running the latest macOS High Sierra beta.

The change, first spotted by Piunikaweb, means users of Google Drive and Google Photos can now take advantage of the new Apple File System (APFS), which was introduced in High Sierra. APFS replaces HFS+ and unifies the file system across macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS, meaning it's optimized for devices that use flash and solid-state storage.

Google's new Backup and Sync client app was broken by the OS change, and some High Sierra users resorted to moving their Google Drive to an external disk formatted to HFS+ to allow their files to sync again.

However, that step should no longer be necessary with Backup and Sync version 3.36. Users can take advantage of the new APFS support by either downloading the Google app anew or waiting for their client to auto-update sometime in the next week.

Google Backup and Sync for Google Photos and Google Drive is a free download for Mac.


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Google Launches ‘Backup and Sync’ Mac App for Google Photos and Google Drive

Google today announced the launch of Backup and Sync, a new app for Macs and PCs that's designed to back up files and photos safely in Google Drive and Google Photos. The new app is meant to replace the existing Google Photos desktop uploader and Drive for Mac/PC.

To use Backup and Sync, Google Drive/Photos users just need to download the app and then choose the folders they want to back up. From there, the selected folders will be continually backed up to Google's services, providing an alternative to Time Machine and making it easier to automatically store important files in the cloud.


In addition to specific folders on a Mac or PC, Backup and Sync can also automatically import files from SD cards and USB devices when a camera, SD card, or other device is connected to a computer.

There are also specific options users can set to dictate how file deletions are handled, and users can choose to upload photos at a lower quality if space is a concern.

Backup and Sync is available starting today through Google Drive and Google Photos.


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Google Photos App Update Brings Long-Awaited Apple TV Streaming Feature

Google continued its steady improvement of the Google Photos app this week by adding the ability to wirelessly transmit photos and videos to an Apple TV on the same network.

Coming almost two years since the app's debut on iOS, the feature addition in the version 2.14 update has been a long time coming, but it does mean users can now stream their Google Photo libraries to big-screen televisions regardless of whether they have a Chromecast or an Apple TV.


The update marks a trend for Google quietly improving the Photos app, which has recently seen feature additions like automatic white balance, video stabilization, Live Photos support, and more.

Signaling its lingering intent to rival Apple in the media sharing space, Google introduced an app last year called Motion Stills that lets users edit Live Photos and turn them into GIFs and short movies for easy sharing.

Google Photos is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]


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Google Photos and Duo App Updates Coming For Users in Low Connectivity Areas

Google announced a couple of notable updates for its Duo and Photos apps yesterday at the company's São Paulo event, where it pitched the features as ideal solutions for users in Brazil who live in low connectivity areas.

Google Photos received two new features to make photo backup and sharing easier when using the app in locations with poor network coverage.


Photos now backs up images in a lightweight preview quality that Google says "still looks great on a smartphone" and can be easily shared over poor connections. When a good Wi-Fi connection does become available, the backed up photos are automatically replaced with high quality versions.
We’re also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you're at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They'll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.
Video calling app Duo gained an audio-only calling feature that users can switch to when an internet connection is poor. The features for both apps are available in Brazil from today, and Google says it will be rolling them out to users around the world in the coming days.

Yesterday, Google also announced a new feature for Maps that lets users share their real-time locations with friends and family.


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