Google Photos Will Search Your Library Using Emoji

April 1, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

As well as playing lots of games, using WhatsApp and Facebook to stay connected, we also take a lot of photos with our smartphones. Firms like Dropbox have long offered users a way of backing up every picture they take with their devices, but Google Photos made all of that a hell of a lot easier. Not only did they offer free, unlimited photo backups, but they also offered users a way to search their library – without ever tagging a single photo. How Google do this is by using neural networks and machine learning, essentially forms of AI. Now, Google Photos has been updated with the ability to search your library with emoji, and no, we’re really not joking.

The next time you load up Google Photos on your Android device and start a search, you might even see a list of emoji that might be relevant to your own personal library. Here at Android Headlines, we’re a diverse bunch and Photos already had animal faces, headphones and of course smartphones for us to search with. This might seem like an April Fools Day joke, but this appears as though it’s going to be a permanent feature of Photos from today onwards. Or at least, we hope that the feature will stick around for the long term. After all, searching for holiday photos with a smiley faces wearing sunglasses or a picture of the sun is easier than searching for all the places you stopped off at on your journey. Emoji have become a big deal over the past couple of years, and they’re now very common in everyday messaging, so it’s no surprise to see them finally making their way to search engines like this.

As speech and communication evolves – or devolves, depending on your outlook – so too will search engines and other interfaces that we interact with. The feature appears to be live right now, and it doesn’t appear as though an update to the Photos App is necessary on Android, either as this is a server-side change it seems. There’s a video below introducing the new feature, and hopefully this isn’t just a temporary April Fools Day joke.