Google could be adding a new social spin to Google Photos — here’s what we know

Google Photos icon on phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google Photos could soon get a boost to its social side with a recently discovered sharing feed and an improvement to the UI when trying to clear up some space. 

This revelation comes from a recent APK teardown by Android Authority and AssembleDebug, who enabled the features in version 6.85.0.637477501 of the Google Photos app for Android. The first change replaces the current sharing icon with a notification icon. Tapping this new icon will take you to a new “sharing activity” page, which reportedly serves as a social notification feed.

The new feed will alert users when their albums and images receive likes or comments, and if someone adds a new image. The discovered code strings also suggest that the feed will notify users when they've been added to a group, and the name of the person who added you. It is unclear if this will include being added as a favorite contact

It should be noted that it does not appear that the current “shared links” page isn’t being removed. The option will still be available by selecting the three dots in the top right corner. 

Google Photos storage changes 

Google Pixel 8 taking photos

(Image credit: Future)

The APK teardown also revealed a new way for users to track how much storage space they can save on the app. According to the report, a new meter appears whenever you select a category in the "review and delete" section of the manage storage page. The purpose of the meter is to show exactly how much space can be saved by following the app's suggestions on what to delete. 

This is the second storage-saving feature that's been found in the code lines for the Google Photos app on Android phones. This feature, currently only available on the desktop version of Google Photos, lowers the quality of backed-up images, reducing the overall amount of space they take up. However, the quality change is permanent, so it might turn some users away. 

Google has been working to add new features to Google Photos since its inception, and the slow push to make it more social could help to draw in new users. We have a guide for how to use Google Photos if you want to try out the app. However, if you dislike the changes then we have a list of the best alternatives to Google Photos.

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.