In the Google Play version of the Photos app which was first spotted by Prasham Parikh of Android Police, the company is testing the ability to search using several filters simultaneously. Previously, on the Search or ‘Explore’ tab, you would find many different types of filter options at the bottom of the screen – favorites, videos, selfies, collages, animations, movies, creations, screenshots, archives, and motion photos.
Upon selecting one of these, you’d be presented with the results of the query, but if you click the search bar again, you would have to select a new filter or type in a new search term. In an update to come, you will now be able to combine several of these at the same time. This includes searching for specific people by face, and so on as shown below.
This sort of search functionality is common in sites like Pinterest and has proven to be quite powerful. I’m of the opinion that all search ought to be this way, and I’m a bit surprised that it has not previously been featured in Google products. You can technically already combine keywords in order to locate highly specific photos that are important to you, but creating pre-determined tags that can be selected or deselected will no doubt make things much more user-friendly.
It’s unclear when this feature will roll out to all users, but according to Android Police, it’s currently only being tested with a handful of users. I attempted to emulate this on my Chromebook, but I wasn’t lucky enough to have it yet. It may be a server-side update, and love them or hate them, staged rollouts are Google’s favorite method for imparting new toys to its users. What I’d really love to see is more immediate feature parity across apps and web apps, but that may take some time.