Google Photos can now detect photos of cats and dogs, automatically grouping them together the way it does with humans, the tech giant announced in a pun-ridden blog post on Monday.
Users with overflowing photo libraries no longer have to type in words like “cat” or “dog” as the app will aggregate photos of individual pets, instead of returning all photos that have been captured with a cat or dog in them.
Pets can additionally be labelled by name, making it easier for users to pull up relevant photos of their loved ones. Users can also search by breed and animal emoji.
In May this year, Google started creating cat and dog videos from the photos saved in people’s Google Photos library, and the new feature, which is being rolled out in “most countries”, makes it easier for users to do the same.
Users simply tap on the new photo group of their pet, select photos, click on “+”, and create a movie or photo book. There are six “pet-inspired” songs to choose from in the movie editor.
Google Photos, which has more than 500 million users as of May, was introduced in 2015 and praised for its ability to sort photos to see a specific person.
However, that year, Google’s photo categorisation capability drew controversy after freelance web developer Jacky Alciné found a selfie of him and his friend misidentified as “gorillas”.
Alciné at the time said “gorilla” has historically been used in reference to black people.
Google had resolved the issue in less than a day after Alciné reported it via Twitter.
Flickr was similarly criticised for inadvertently dehumanising people, shining a spotlight on the issue of machine bias.
Earlier this year, Google updated its Photos app to make it faster for users to share photos with friends. Its Suggested Sharing feature reminds users to share photos, while Google’s computer-vision algorithms select photos worth sharing.
The feature also suggests who to send them to, based on who is in the photo. After pressing send, the photos are placed in a shared folder and contacts are also prompted to contribute to the folder.
Another feature called Shared Libraries allows users to link libraries with one other person, with the option to provide access to the full library or photos of only certain people from a specific date onwards.