While new information keeps rolling out of Google I/O, some of the recently announced things are creeping out in various forms. After the keynote, we've been expecting some enhancements to Google Photos, and the latest update contains new text that makes it look pretty likely that we'll be getting them soon. There's also a subtle clue that may suggest we'll soon get to lock up some of our photos or albums and access them with a fingerprint.


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.

Lockable albums, unlocked with a fingerprint

Admittedly, this one is really deep into theorizing, but it feels well-founded, so I'm going to run with it. The Photos app just added two lines to the manifest, one to request access to biometric security, and the other to declare that the app can use fingerprint readers if they are present on a device.

<uses-feature android:name="android.hardware.fingerprint" android:required="false" />
<uses-permission-sdk-23 android:name="android.permission.USE_BIOMETRIC" />

To put it simply, there aren't a lot of things this could be intended for, which is the reason I'm jumping straight to saying it's probably going to lock up albums, and then quickly unlock them with a fingerprint reader or another biometric method. In truth, there is one other fairly good explanation, which is simply that the setup steps for partner sharing, which already ask you to verify your identity (with your phone's lock screen), may get a dedicated fingerprint unlock. I think that's the less likely of the two since the current lock screen method already does this.

Also, it's worth acknowledging that there's currently no other evidence of locked albums or photos, so the speculation is pretty thick on this one, but it feels like the only thing that makes sense. On the other hand, perhaps I just think this is the most logical story since so many people regularly ask to be able to add another step to secure photos from the view of prying eyes.

Suggested edits to photos

If you were watching the Google I/O 2018 keynote, you'll probably remember seeing a rushed demonstration of the Google Photos app as it suggested sharing some pictures from a wedding with a girl that was in the shots (a feature that already exists in another form) and a suggestion to automatically fix the brightness on a picture that was underexposed.

It looks like those suggestions may begin rolling out with this version, though they aren't live on my phones yet. New text has been added for the "Fix brightness" suggestion, and also one more that will allow you to rotate a photo without going to the photo editor. Perhaps we'll see Google flipping this feature on remotely.

One thing that wasn't mentioned in the keynote was that you will be able to long-press on an image with fixed brightness to compare the original to the new version. Strangely, the text suggests that you'll have to press and hold with two fingers, not just one.

As for the rotation tool, it's a lot like the current one, but probably more convenient when it's suggested. You're limited to increments of 90 degrees. However, one line describes an interesting twist: Tapping with two fingers will execute the rotation, which may mean there is no individual button like you'd get in the regular photo editor.

<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_rotate_chip">Rotate</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_rotate_done_90">90 degrees right rotation from original</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_rotate_done_180">Upside down rotation from original</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_rotate_done_270">90 degrees left rotation from original</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_rotate_done_360">Original rotation</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_rotation_hint">Tap to rotate</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_rotation_hint_content_desc">2 finger tap to rotate</string>

<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_auto_enhance_chip">Fix brightness</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_fix_brightness">Adjusted brightness</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_ae_hint">Press &amp; hold to compare</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_ae_hint_content_desc">2 finger Press &amp; hold to compare</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_ae_original_hint">Original</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_a11y_photo_preview">Photo with %s</string>

<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_error">Failed to apply edits</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_save_as_copy_button">Save as copy</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_save_button">Save</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_save_error">Unable to save changes</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_undo_hint">You can undo changes after saving</string>
<string name="photos_suggestedactions_editor_cancel_button">Cancel</string>

Suggested sharing is also mentioned in a couple more strings, but they don't add anything interesting to the story, so we'll just skip by that.

<string name="sendkit_ui_about_suggested_people_info">To make sharing easier, Google suggests people to share with based on your interactions</string>
<string name="sendkit_ui_about_top_suggestions">About suggested people</string>


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