Gemini-Powered ‘Ask Photos’ Brings an AI Assistant to Google Photos

A smartphone screen displaying the Google Photos app with a virtual assistant named Gemini. The assistant greets "Elisa" and asks, "What can I help you with?" Text next to the phone reads, "Google Photos Ask Photos with Gemini.

Google Photos took the spotlight at the opening of the tech company’s I/O keynote, complete with a big AI-powered update.

“Ask Photos” is a new feature fueled by Gemini, Google’s large language model. It’s centered around making the app easier to use, all thanks to the power of AI. It was one of the tech giant’s better examples of how investments in Gemini can make life easier in meaningful ways.

“Over 6 billion photos are uploaded every day to Google Photos,” the company said in a release. “As people’s galleries grow, finding what you need can lead to scrolling through pages of photos and videos — even if you have the right combination of keywords.”

A smartphone screen displays a message conversation. The first message asks for past birthday party themes for Lena. The response lists themes from the 3rd to the 6th birthday. Below the messages, there are photos of birthday celebrations featuring decorations and banners.

With Ask Photos, users can submit various queries. Some examples Google gives include “Show me the best photo from each national park I’ve visited,” or “What themes have we had for Lena’s birthday parties.” The idea is to let users search their library beyond relying on keywords, dates, or location details.

“Ask Photos understands your query, and then forms a plan to find the answer,” Google explains in a release. “It issues a sophisticated search on your behalf, identifying not only relevant keywords, like places, people and dates, but also natural language concepts like ‘themed birthday party.'”

A smartphone screen displaying the Google Photos app interface. It welcomes the user, Jamie, with the message, "What can I help you with?" Below, there is a search bar and four navigation icons labeled Photos, Memories, Library, and Ask.

From there, “Gemini’s multimodal capabilities” help it analyze photos, determining how to respond helpfully.

It’s a step up from the existing keyword searches many photo apps are capable of today, and it allows users to ask more naturally rather than trying to contort language just the right way. It’s also undoubtedly interesting to see Google offer an example prompt using subjective language like asking for the “best” photo.

Google further noted that users’ data from Google Photos isn’t used in ads and that the company doesn’t “train any generative AI product outside of Google Photos on this personal data.” That, along with the “conversations” users have while using Ask Photos, is not reviewed “except in rare cases to address abuse or harm,” the tech giant added.

Ask Photos will roll out “in the coming months,” but no further timeline information was released. Google did note that it plans to add more features and capabilities, so there’s plenty for Google Photos users to wait for.

Image credits: Google