Google Photos Gets a Major Feature and Design Makeover

The new app front-loads search, adds a map view, and gets a new icon

For many, Google Photos is how we store all our digital photos. The update makes it easier to view and dig through your thousands of images.

Person taking photos.
 Getty Images

Google Photos, the popular, free, photo and video storage, and management app, is getting a makeover, one that changes the five-year-old app icon, and that makes significant changes to the core layout of the app, starting with iOS.

A major simplification: Google started by simplifying the iOS app tab or menu choices, dropping the total from four to three. "Photos" is now joined by "Library" and, most importantly, "Search."

Find my photos: Google wrote on Thursday in a blog post announcing the change that it's prioritizing Search to give users quick and easy access to finding key photo topics (People, Places, Pets). However, the new tab does mean that the large "Search" box at the top of the app disappears.

Clicking on the Search tab also reveals access to a Google Map where you can pinch and zoom to pinpoint places where you've taken photos, and, of course, drill down to the pictures you've shot in those places.

Google Photos
The new look of Google Photos on iOS.  Google

Finding the rest: Some elements from the tab menu and the hamburger menu from the upper left-hand corner of the old app (yes, it's gone, too), including Albums, Favorites, Trash, Archives, and Utilities, have moved under the new Libraries tab.

Other cosmetic changes: In addition to a brand new app icon (the first significant redesign in five years), the app got a makeover. There are now larger Memory carousel thumbnails (with more types of memories, too) at the top and more tightly spaced recent photos below.

How you get it: The Google Photos update is rolling out on iOS right now. It's not clear when it will arrive on Android.

Learn more about Google Photos