This subtle (but useful) AI feature is my favorite Google I/O 2024 announcement

Ask for photos

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

The dawn of the smartphone put incredibly powerful cameras in people’s pockets, making it easy for us to take pictures of anything, all the time. Result? The photo albums on our smartphones can contain tens of thousands of images, and finding the one you want is nearly impossible. Google’s new AI feature offers a solution.

Also: Everything announced at Google I/O 2024: Gemini, Search, Project Astra, etc

On Tuesday, at Google I/O annual developer conference, the company unveiled a new “Ask for Photos” feature in Google Photos. By leveraging Gemini AI, this feature allows users to ask the chatbot to find photos for them instead of having to go through thousands of photos themselves.

For example, Google says, instead of entering the keyword “license plate” and scrolling through all the photos themselves, users can now ask: “What is my license plate?” Gemini will get the number for them, using context to determine which car belongs to the user.

In another example, users who want to see their daughter’s swimming progress over time can ask Google Photos to do so, and Gemini will automatically curate the highlights for them.

Also: Google Photos users will soon get the best AI editing tools on Pixel devices for free

Google shares that this feature will be rolling out Google Photos users later this summer, with more likely to come. While this feature isn’t available yet, if you’re excited about it, you can prepare your photos in advance by backing them all up to Google Photos.

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