Google Photos tests a convenient new search tool for pictures in your library

Google Photos logo on mobile screen
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Photos has entered a limited testing phase of a new search button for photos.
  • This search button replaces the spot Google Lens held on photos as it will take the faces in a photo and do a reverse search through your library for more.
  • Google Lens is still there, allowing you to tap on items or things in the photo and search for them using the company's search engine.

Google Photos appears to be testing a new feature that lets users search their library of pictures using the faces of a single photo.

According to Android Police, Google Photos has replaced the Lens button in the bottom row of photo options with a new search feature. This feature has also appeared to have entered a limited testing phase, with many people not actually seeing this subtle change.

This search feature allows Photos to take the faces featured in a photo and do a reverse search of other pictures in your library. This facial recognition feature lets users use one photo as the lead in finding many more that feature the same family member or a long-time friend.

It also appears as though you can tap the new search button and then tap on which face or faces you'd like the search to be conducted on. Perhaps Google Photos is letting users really get detailed in who they're looking for in these library searches.

Google Photos' new "search" button during its limited test.

(Image credit: Android Police)

This test hasn't removed Google Lens from Google Photos, either. While it is a little different in this test, tapping the new search button and then tapping on an article of clothing or object will activate the Lens part of Photos, allowing you to search for items in an image or select text from the image to search or translate.

Testing and changes aside, this search feature isn't anything entirely new. You can already search for photos that are similar to one another in the Google Photos app by swiping up on a photo to reveal the menu below or by tapping the three-dot icon at the top right of a photo.

What this test would bring to users in a stable, live build of the feature is a combination of the search options Google Photos can bring through your own library and the company's search engine.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.