Photos v3.3 cleans up notification options on the settings screen, preparing for movies about growing up and possibly auto-saving rules for shared libraries [APK Download + Teardown]
- 1 What's New
- 1.1 Grouped notification settings
- 1.2 Shared libraries has a "Select" command
- 2 Teardown
- 2.1 Movie Concepts: Growing Up
- 2.2 Rules for auto-saving from shared libraries
- 2.3 Airtel Happy Hours
- 3 Download
A new version of Google Photos is rolling out to users today. Noticeable changes seem to be pretty scarce in both this release and the previous v3.2 update, or at least we haven't seen much in the way of differences. However, between the two, there are a few things to talk about. Today's update brings a little cleanup work to the Settings screen by grouping notification options together, as well multi-selection support in the shared libraries screen. There are also clues about a new themed video creation, enhanced rules for auto-saving shared photos, and some cost-saving measures for Airtel subscribers in India.
Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)
* Grouped all notification options from Settings screen into a dedicated page
* Shared libraries viewing screen now has a "Select" command (which may be a mistake)
Grouped notification settings
Left + Center: Previous versions. Right: New page for notification options.
As apps mature, the configuration options are bound to grow in number and a little reorganization can help to clean things up. That's what this is about. The Photos team has taken all of the notification-oriented settings and given them a dedicated screen where they can reside peacefully. Also worth a quick mention, the order of items in the Settings screen has also been changed, but nothing else has been added or removed.
Shared libraries has a "Select" command
If you've used Photos with any regularity, you've probably stumbled across the select command in the overflow menu of most screens. It's a way to begin multi-select mode, which can also be done by long-pressing on a photo (and optionally dragging to select several at a time). This option was previously missing in the viewer for Shared Libraries, but it's now there.
But there's a bit of a problem in this update. It seems you can't do anything with the selected pictures. Aside from a FAB for zooming in, where you can further change which images are selected, there are no action buttons to do things like share or delete images. I would expect to see this fixed in the next update. All the same, I'm pointing it out now because some people have complained that this screen wasn't very functional and they wanted more control over the images in shared libraries.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Movie Concepts: Growing Up
Google Photos is popular with many people for automatically generating videos, collages, and other enhanced media based on the photos and videos we've taken. It looks like the developers might be diving a bit deeper with this concept and working to create something a little more oriented to themes. New clues point to a "movie concept" centered around photos of a child growing up. It encourages choosing pictures taken over a long period of time.
<string name="photos_create_movie_concept_introduction_title">They grow up so fast</string>
<string name="photos_create_movie_concept_introduction_subtitle">Watch a child grow up right before your eyes</string>
<string name="photos_create_movie_concept_introduction_works_best">Works best if you have lots of photos of the child, spread over a long period of time</string>
<string name="photos_create_movie_concept_introduction_start_button">Get started</string>
<activity android:name="com.google.android.apps.photos.create.movie.concept.CreateConceptMovieIntroductionActivity" android:exported="false" android:resizeableActivity="true" android:theme="@style/Theme.Photos.NoTitle" />
Judging by the text, photos are the preferred (or maybe the only accepted) medium, and a movie will be the output. It's not clear whether this creates something uniquely different from what the existing movie creator can already produce. It could have a very custom design and special features, or there may just be a specific set of music and visual themes. On the other hand, this might just be a topic-specific promotion and there's no actual feature here at all. Unfortunately, it's tough to say anything with certainty given the limited context. I don't have kids, so I'm not really the target audience for this feature.
Note: Evidently, these just started popping up for some people as another automatically generated video type in the Assistant tab.
I may be stretching a bit far with this topic, but I've noticed some new strings popping up that mention setting up "rules to automatically save some or all photos" in the last couple versions of Google Photos. What I find interesting about this is that the shared libraries feature allows users to automatically save all photos shared to them through that mechanism, but unless the text intends "some" to refer to manually saving photos, I don't believe there are any other rules for limiting which photos are imported into your library.
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_dialog_title">Save your favorites, automatically</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_dialog_description">Set up rules to automatically save some or all photos from %1$s</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_dialog_description_no_name">Set up rules to automatically save some or all photos</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_dialog_negative_button">No thanks</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_turn_on_auto_save">Start saving automatically</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_turn_on_auto_save_subtitle">See these photos along with your own</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_unshare_confirmation_description">Items removed from shared libraries remain part of your own Photos library</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_banner_title">Save to your library</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_banner_description">Set up rules to automatically save some or all photos from %1$s to your own library</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_banner_description_no_name">Set up rules to automatically save some or all photos to your own library</string>
<string name="photos_partneraccount_grid_autosave_promo_banner_button">Get started</string>
I have a theory that feels pretty reasonable, at least to me. My hunch is that there will soon be an option to select people when their faces are identified, and have any picture with them automatically added to your library, while other photos can be left alone. I've seen little changes and signs that suggest this may be the direction things are headed, but most of them are difficult to demonstrate here. Although, there are some new strings have been added recently that relate to tagging faces. They are possibly (even probably) unrelated, but it does show some activity in this area.
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_activity_title">Select people</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_select_tagged_person_content_description">Select %s</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_select_untagged_person_content_description">Select this un-tagged person</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_tagged_person_selected_announcement">%s is selected</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_tagged_person_unselected_announcement">%s is un-selected</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_tile_description">Select this person</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_unselect_tagged_person_content_description">Un-select %s</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_unselect_untagged_person_content_description">Un-select this un-tagged person</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_untagged_person_selected_announcement">This un-tagged person is selected</string>
<string name="photos_peoplepicker_untagged_person_unselected_announcement">This un-tagged person is un-selected</string>
<string name="photos_search_peoplegroupingonboarding_existing_optin_title">See all the photos you're in</string>
<string name="photos_search_peoplegroupingonboarding_existing_optin_notification_body">Turn on face grouping to see your favorite people</string>
<activity android:name="com.google.android.apps.photos.peoplepicker.CreationPeoplePickerActivity" android:exported="false" android:label="@string/photos_peoplepicker_activity_title" android:resizeableActivity="true" android:theme="@style/Theme.Photos.NoTitle" />
I grant, this is more like a feature suggestion spawned from a nitpicky reading of the text, and any relationship between clues is mostly circumstantial; however, the current options to automatically save all or none of the photos that come through the shared library make very little sense to me. They are the obvious starting points, but given the impressive identification capabilities of Google Photos, it would be a shame if this clever technology weren't put to good use in more ways than we've seen already.
Airtel Happy Hours
This one is for our friends in India with Airtel service. Google Photos is going to have the option to wait to perform backups until night so data won't cost a thing. Obviously, this is a good thing when the cost of data is quite high and it's possible to offset the backups to a time when they can be done during off-peak hours.
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_preference_airtel_summary">Photos & videos will automatically back up using free data at night. <a href="%1$s" >Learn more</a></string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_preference_airtel_title">Use Airtel Happy hours</string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_preference_generic_summary">Back up photos & videos for free over data</string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_preference_generic_title">Back up during off-peak hours</string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_promo_body_airtel">Your photos will automatically back up using free data during Airtel Happy hours. <a href="%1$s" >Learn more</a></string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_promo_ok_button">GOT IT</string>
<string name="photos_dataplan_free_backup_promo_title_airtel">Free backup on Airtel</string>
To be fair, I'm not in India and I have no idea if this is already in effect. Either way, it's good to see Google working with the carriers to bring costs down.
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