Google held a press event last month and talked about a few of the interesting new features planned for the Photos app. We're still waiting for collaborative albums to be turned on, but we've already seen other features come to life, like Chromecast support and setting labels for matched faces. This version doesn't appear to unlock collaborative albums – that may be waiting for a server-side switch – but it does add another feature to the facial matching feature: the ability to hide somebody.

Google's changelog is up

Google posted an official changelog for Photos v1.8:

  • Now in more countries: Finding the perfect photo of your best friend or family member just got easier. See similar faces grouped together in Search, and privately label faces to quickly search for the person you're looking for. Tap the search button to get started.
    Face grouping will be available in Latin America, Canada, the Caribbean, Australia, and New Zealand. It will also be available in parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
  • Hide a person from appearing under People. This also prevents events with that person from appearing in "Rediscover this day" cards in the Assistant.
  • When viewing search results, pinch to zoom in and out.
  • Spooky fast performance improvements and bug fixes.

If you're like me, you've probably got at least a few totally unknown people in some of your pictures, especially if you've taken some group shots in the stands at a sporting event or out at a bar. You can finally clean up some of these randos you don't actually know or care about. It's worth noting, this doesn't have any effect on any photos or permanently remove any matched faces, this just hides them from the list. So you probably shouldn't try to use this as a way to hide pictures of your ex when your current starts poking around on your phone.

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I make friends with really blurry people.

You might be wondering how to make use of this handy little feature. Start by tapping on the search button, that's the magnifying glass FAB in the lower-right corner of most screen, and then long-press on any face you wish to hide. This activates a multi-select interface where you can pick as many people as you like (first screenshot). To finish, just tap the "Hide" button at the right side of the action bar. A little snackbar will pop up at the bottom to confirm the action and offer an Undo button in case this was an accident.

Bringing back hidden people is just as easy. Simply hit the overflow menu and select "Hide & show people" (center screenshot) to see all of the hidden people temporarily reappear with a white tint and a little crossed-out eye icon. Tap on any of the hidden people to fully restore them, then the "Done" button to leave this mode.

That appears to be the only noteworthy change in this release, but there are a couple of additional strings and tweaks in preparation for collaborative albums, so keep an eye out for that to possibly go live soon.

As usual, we've got a link to the apks below.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File Name: com.google.android.apps.photos_1.8.0.106438466-99044_minAPI14(armeabi-v7a)(480dpi).apk

Version: 1.8.0.106438466 (99044)