Google Photos could be trying to disable backups from messaging apps such as WhatsApp as reported by XDA. Other potential updates for the app include an option to disable autoplay for motion picture and video whilst scrolling. You may also be able to set your Google profile picture from the Photos app in the near future.
All of these updates have been spotted in the app's code by reverse engineers. They point to the above updates rolling out but nothing is confirmed as of yet.
Backups to Google Photos to automatically disable
It has been a common source of frustration that apps such as WhatsApp clog up Google Photos. This update may change all of that. The spotted code suggests that the immediate backing up of photos from such apps will be disabled. This means space will not be taken up by potentially unwanted media.
Users will have the option to turn the feature off so photos are always backed up. Google Photos version 4.53 is testing the capability of this function. Given Google Photos already suggests photos that it thinks can be deleted this should not be too much of an issue.
It seems that this new update is coming in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With everyone stuck at home, this has meant that people are sending more photos. In turn, clogging up the media storage of people's devices, leading to Google looking into the capability of this update.
Autoplay of media to be disabled
Another feature that is being looked at is the ability to disable motion pictures and videos whilst scrolling.
This would stop media immediately playing when you are simply scrolling through Google Photos. An update that seems to be relatively useful and improves UI.
The autoplay of this media was introduced in July of last year. Reportedly it was not well received by users who found it frustrating and made scrolling more difficult.
As a result, Google Photos is looking at giving users the option to disable this autoplay. Therefore, stopping this frustration by giving users more choice on how their app runs.
Overall, these appear to be promising updates from Google. It is interesting to note the unexpected impact of COVID-19 on the amount of media being sent and therefore the need to make changes to the app.
On top of this it is good so see Google recognizing the issues with autoplay of media and rectifying it.