Update Wednesday is proving to be pretty active today as new versions of several apps are streaming out. The latest update to Photos doesn't appear to include anything we haven't heard about before, but it does seem to activate some of the features for everybody that had been on a staged rollout, like Archive and Suggested Sharing. If you haven't already received some of these features, and assuming they aren't geo-restricted, this is probably the version to get.

However, a teardown of this version does have a few things to reveal, including a significant upgrade to the camera shortcut and suggestions for photos you might want to archive. Since there wasn't time when the previous update came out, I've also got a few short topics from that version, as well.


Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Improvements to the Camera Shortcut

It has been quite a while since Google Photos added a little floating thumbnail of photos after they were taken, but it's a pretty handy shortcut to quickly open the app and check out the images where they can be examined properly. However, that simple feature is about to get more advanced.

New text in the Photos app tells us that this little button is about to gain a few new tricks. According to the promotional description, you'll be able to immediately share, edit, or archive photos as soon as you take them.


<string name="photos_cameraassistant_ui_onboarding_title">Your Google Photos camera shortcut was upgraded</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_ui_onboarding_desc">Now share, edit and archive photos right when you take them. Turn it off anytime in settings. &lt;a href=help:&gt;Learn more&lt;/a&gt;</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_ui_onboarding_ok">Got it</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_ui_onboarding_take_photo">Take a photo</string>

<string name="photos_camerashortcut_connector_impl_setting_new_summary">Share, edit and archive photos right when you take them. &lt;a href=help:&gt;Learn more&lt;/a&gt;</string>

<string name="photos_cameraassistant_archive_success_content_description">Archived in Photos app</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_archive_undo_content_description">Archive undone</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_archive_undo_failed">Can't unarchive item</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_archive_failed">Can't archive item</string>

<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_thumbnail_content_description">Review in Photos app</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_icon_archive">Archive</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_icon_edit">Edit</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_icon_search">Search</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_icon_share">Share</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_archive_toast_label">Archived</string>
<string name="photos_cameraassistant_impl_shade_archive_toast_undo">Undo</string>

<receiver android:name="com.google.android.apps.photos.cameraassistant.CameraAssistantBroadcastReceiver" android:exported="true">
<action android:name="android.hardware.action.NEW_PICTURE" />
<action android:name="android.hardware.action.NEW_VIDEO" />
<action android:name="com.android.camera.NEW_PICTURE" />
<data android:mimeType="image/*" />
<data android:mimeType="video/*" />
<service android:name="com.google.android.apps.photos.cameraassistant.CameraAssistantService" android:exported="true" />

This particular enhancement isn't live for me yet, and since the text isn't very detailed, I'm not really sure what the widget will look like on screen or how the shortcuts to share, edit, and archive will be accessed. My hunch is that it'll look basically the same when a photo is taken, but tapping on the picture may open a new floating menu where users can immediately launch the actions.

Suggesting photos to archive

With the Archive feature going live for everybody, Google wants to let users know it's there, and maybe give a little nudge in the right direction. The next time you look at your Assistant tab, you might see a new card suggesting that you can review your photos and clean up the clutter. Like some of the other suggestions found in the Assistant tab, tapping the card will open a new screen where you can pick the images to archive.


<string name="photos_archive_assistant_review">Review</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_review_description">Selected photos from your library will be moved to archive. They'll still show in albums &amp; search results.</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_archive">Archive</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_close">Close</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_done">Done</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_more">More suggestions</string>

<string name="photos_archive_assistant_settings_impl_suggested_archive">Suggested Archive</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_settings_impl_suggested_archive_summary">Get suggestions to archive photos</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_settings_impl_suggested_archive_off_toast">“Suggested Archive” turned off</string>

<string name="photos_archive_assistant_tombstone_title">Clear more clutter</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_tombstone_description">You can clean up your library by selecting more photos to archive</string>
<string name="photos_archive_assistant_tombstone_view_archive">Go to archive</string>

<string name="photos_archive_assistant_turn_off_card">Turn off “Suggested Archive”</string>

<string name="photos_home_menu_skipped_suggestions">Skipped suggestions</string>

<activity android:name="com.google.android.apps.photos.archive.assistant.SuggestedArchiveReviewActivity" android:exported="false" android:theme="@style/Photos.Archive.Assistant.Review" />

If you're not into the idea of getting archival suggestions, there is an option to turn them off completely. Alternatively, if you've previously skipped any suggestions and want to reconsider, there's also a menu command to re-examine those shots for a second round on the hot seat.

Shared Libraries

I'm just making a quick note about Shared Libraries, probably the one feature from I/O that hasn't either launched or been mentioned elsewhere since the keynote. Version 2.15 of the Photos app included a boatload of new lines related to this and all of the other features announced during the event.

I'm not going to fill this section with over 100 strings and other resources because, quite frankly, there's nothing special to be learned from them... It was all shown on stage. However, some people have been asking about it and it is worth bringing up the topic just to point out that the feature is already extensively implemented in the apk and will probably go live soon.

Austin's Mystery Feature is Still there

Another follow-up deserves to be made, although it's mostly for laughs. Readers may remember Austin's Mystery Feature from the v2.13 teardown. The "feature" is presumably still there, but seems to have lost a little bit of its personality. It seems Austin is no longer credited with this work of brilliance, as his name has been replaced by the word "still" in the string name.

old version
<string name="photos_photofragment_components_photobar_action_austins_mystery_feature">\????</string>

new version
<string name="photos_photofragment_components_photobar_action_still_mystery_feature">\????</string>

Sorry, Austin. I know how it goes when some cruel manager rips away the credit you rightfully deserve. We're here for ya. Your work, such as it is, shall always be immortalized and properly credited here on Android Police.

Launch directly to Albums

The final topic of this teardown also comes from v2.15, but it's a much simpler item that people have been asking for practically since Photos launched. There is a simple preference option planned that will instruct Photos to automatically open to the Album view instead of the full photo stream.

<string name="photos_settings_tab_default_setting_title">Make albums view default</string>
<string name="photos_settings_tab_default_setting_desc">Always show albums when opening Photos</string>

For users that don't get much value out of the photo stream, this is surely going to be a welcome feature. Considering the simplicity, I'm surprised it didn't launch in either of the latest updates – assuming it's not rolling out to a limited group – but it's probably not far away.


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.


Google Photos
Google Photos
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free