Starting today, Memories on Google Photos will receive a variety of cinematic changes that Google calls “the biggest update… [the feature’s] throw”.
Memories can be considered Google’s answer to Snapchat Stories; short videos made from photos in your Photos account, although they don’t disappear. For the update, the focus is on fostering creativity among users, giving them tools to create more dynamic work with their own photos. There is a greater emphasis on creating videos and adding graphic art to images to make them pop. Google will also make user creations easier to share with friends and family without having to dig through the Settings menu.
Given that Memories is one of Google Photos’ most popular features (due to the company’s own recognition) and it’s been over a year since last major update (opens in new tab)these changes are long overdue.
The first batch of changes comes from Google readjusting how certain functions operate in Memories. You will find more videos present as “Photos will automatically select and trim” snippets more often than uploaded files. These snippets will have a subtle zoom to make still images more dynamic. And in October, Google will be “adding instrumental music to some Memories”. The full music library is virtually unheard of, aside from a cheerful melody and ambient melody heard in some of the preview videos.
Cinematic Memories, an update to cinematic photos released in 2020 (opens in new tab), will bring together multiple still images to create a fake video type complete with music. You will see the camera pan on a subject to produce a 3D-like effect intended to simulate movement. The 2020 version was more subtle, but now it’s more dynamic.
For the previously mentioned artwork, they will come via the new Styles feature. Several pieces of art will be available at launch, according to Google, which can be added to Memories, injecting a splash of color into photos. Some of the designs were created by featured artists Shantell Martin (opens in new tab) and Lisa Congdon (opens in new tab)although they are only available for a limited time.
Sharing memories will be made easier as a new share icon will appear on the reel. All a user has to do is tap on the icon and select the recipient to send them to. This change will come to Android devices first before rolling out to Google Photos on iOS and web browsers “soon”.
The final change is a new collage editing tool where you can put your favorite photos together via drag and drop controls. Some of the collage designs were also created by Shantell Martin and Lisa Congdon. Inside the editor, you have access to several tools to adjust the image brightness or apply filters. Pixel owners and Google One Members will have access to exclusive features such as the ability to add Portrait Light and HDR to collages, as well as 30 unique designs.
The collage editor will be released for Android and iOS devices, but it doesn’t look like the web browser version of Google Photos will receive it. We ask Google for clarification on this front. We’ll update this story if we get a response.
Google Photos is one of the most used image storage services, but some are disappointed with its limited editing tools. If you’re curious, we recommend checking out ‘s list of the best alternatives to Google Photos.