In an update post on X today, Google Photos announced a new way to create videos, and yes, you guessed it, it’s driven by artificial intelligence. The company says it’s focused on letting you automate video highlight creation with ease and personalization and just a few taps. This means that rapid generation of precious moments in video format based on several keywords will be super simple!
Creating highlight videos with ease
No longer will you need to manually sift through your photos and videos to grab the perfect grouping of memories for a highlight reel. In the past, I would manually star the things I wanted to use so they would be in close proximity to one another in my library, but this makes that a thing of the past.
Now, you can simply tap the plus button at the top of the screen on Android and iOS (rolling out soon, so be patient!), choose ‘Highlight Video’ and start searching for people, places, and things you want Google to use AI to collect from your library for the video creation.
With “A little help from Google” (and AI)
Once it’s got a sample of your preferences for the theme you’re proposing via the search terms you’ve included, it will then weave the selections together, synchronizing them with fitting music to craft a cohesive narrative that breathes life into your memories. I mean, the idea looks pretty cool, but I’ve had situations in the past where the previous iteration of automatic video memories created by Google would show many photos of my son and then a random sandwich to sad music so, we’ll have to see how much more AI makes this feasible.
You can customize the highlight video afterward
While AI does the initial curation, the final product is entirely in your hands. Google Photos says it will let you fine-tune your highlight video. You can easily trim or rearrange clips to your liking, and if the automatically chosen music doesn’t quite hit the mark (especially for sandwiches), a few taps are all it takes to switch it out. These extra little tweaks will hopefully ensure your creations (or Google’s) are truly encapsulating those precious moments you first sought to capture.
Why it matters
The more you upload photos and videos to Google Photos, the more it becomes like the Picasa of old. Instead of relying on you to waste your time tagging constantly trimming the memory garden to keep it pristine, Google has faithfully used its cloud servers to automate these tasks.
Now, with AI at the helm, the possibilities for memory curation, reminiscence, and fond feelings on days past are limitless. I’m not entirely on board with Google’s AI features when it comes to Photos (as I’ve been very vocal about), but many of you took time to comment on the fact that a bunch of the features Google is employing (with the exception of AI) have been around in the photography world for a decade or so.
I’m no photographer, and thus I look at this through the lens of a regular Photos user with some tech background. So long as Google continues to respect user privacy (I know, go ahead and laugh), offers Takeout to let users export their photos and clearly communicates its intentions with these new tools, I’ll likely enjoy them. Just don’t expect me to start swapping people’s faces in the uncanny valley.