Google Photos tests more 'complex' search to help find specific images

Google Photos app on a Pixel 4a held in one hand outdoors.
(Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Photos on the web begins testing a "complex" query version of its search function.
  • Users can search for terms like "colorful sunset" and receive results that are most relevant to that query.
  • Similarly, the test displays users can search for people they may have tagged paired with a specific place they may have been.

Google Photos appears to have started testing a revamp to how its search function interacts with what users are looking for. According to 9to5Google, during the past few days, users have noticed Google Photos on the web deliver a prompt that reads, "Try a more powerful search," followed by a "learn more" option.

Google explains users can experiment with queries such as "colorful sunset" or "Cinderella" along with other phrases. During 9to5's test, searching for "colorful sunset" in their Photos library returned several "Most relevant to your search" pictures. Furthermore, the photos appeared based more on relevance to their query rather than sorted by the date the photo was taken.

For the moment, Android devices have not been spotted with this new prompt, but that may change if testing goes well enough.

An experiment with the new "complex" queries on Google Photos on the web.

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

Additionally, users may be able to get a bit more specific to find that one elusive memory. Further testing discovered the ability to use search for tagged faces (people) and a location. An example would be "Briana at Grant Park." Both variations to the search function inside Google Photos can be useful. Users can go from general queries on a subject to find any photos fitting a description to more precise finds for specific memories.

In regard to the current experiment limited to web users, a Google spokesperson told 9to5 it is "always experimenting with new ways to help people find and relive their photos and videos." The spokesperson states that the experiment "allows people to search for more complex queries to help them find the photos and videos they’re looking for more easily."

Google Photos began testing a useful feature late last year that replaces Google Lens with a Search button that let users tap a face to search for other photos of that person in their gallery. It's a useful tool when you can actually think of the photo a person was in but are unsure if they're in more you may have.

The current testing brings this power in text form as you search ideas, scenarios, places, and even people you may have tagged in the library.

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.