Google Photos was launched last year during Google I/O as one of the larger announcements during the show, and as this year's I/O is just around the corner, that makes Google Photos almost a year old. In that time, the service has gotten smarter, reduced the amount of false recognitions and the Android app itself has gotten some updates and tweaks here and there. For the most part, the Google Photos app on Android is a fairly simple app and will remind users of many other Google apps, but unlike a lot of other Google offerings, the Photos app didn't include a search bar at the top of the app by default, until now.
Google Photos version 1.19, which should be rolling out to everyone via the Play Store right about now, changes the search action from the blue floating action button in the bottom-right to a search bar at the top of the screen. Presumably, Google have added this to reduce any confusion that users might experience when looking for the search bar, especially when most devices feature the Google search bar on the home screen as well as in the multitasking menu these days. Tapping the new search bar will bring up the keyboard allowing you to tap away whatever it is you;re looking for, and it does speed the process of quickly finding photos of "dogs" to show off to your friends, and there are some changes elsewhere, too. It appears as though the bottom bar has been taken over by quick icons for Photos, Albums and the Assistant, rather than relegating these to the slide-out menu drawer.
Photos has become a key part of Google's consumer-facing offerings on mobile, so it's no surprise to see them tweak the use experience here and there like this. Overall, this is a pretty nice little tweak, and certainly makes find whatever it is you want to look at that little bit quicker. The search bar also includes a permanent Cast icon as well, which is nice, but for most people this will be a change that will make it quicker to find the right photos and a little more straightforward for average users.