One of the best uses of the Google Nest Hub, Hub Max, or any third-party Smart Display (Lenovo, JBL, etc...), is as a smart digital photo album. I've already shared with you the steps to set up the photo frame plus tips to make the most of Live Albums, but there are a few new hidden capabilities that make it easier to interact with the photos once they're showing on your Smart Display. In this post, I'll explain how you can ask where and when a photo was taken, add it to your favorites, hide it, and share it directly with one of your contacts.

With voice commands

Favorite a photo

"Hey Google, favorite this" OR "favorite this photo" OR "add this photo to favorites"

If your Nest Hub/Smart Display shows a photo you really like as part of a random rotation or album, you can easily add it to your Google Photos favorites. A star icon will show up in the middle of the photo, indicating it's been favorited.

You can then find all your favorites easily in Google Photos by searching for "favorites," and you can also set your favorites as one of the albums in rotation on your Smart Display in Ambient Mode. It goes full circle.

Hide a photo

"Hey Google, hide this photo" OR "remove this photo"

Google's algorithms aren't infallible. Sometimes they'll pick a dull image to show off on your display, other times they might recognize the wrong person in a photo. You may also come across pics that you don't want to see anymore, or, you know, you may have some inappropriate photos showing up. In those instances, a quick way to hide a photo is necessary, without having to fumble with a phone or dig in menus or settings.

The commands are simple, and something you'd guess without even looking at a tutorial. However, since hiding a photo on the Smart Display requires archiving it in Google Photos (like explained in our previous tips), you'll see a prompt on the screen and you'll be able to confirm or cancel if you change your mind.

Share a photo with a contact

"Hey Google, share this photo" OR "share this photo with <contact_name>"

There are times when your display will show a cool photo of someone, new or old, and you'll wonder if you've sent it to them or not. An easy way to immediately share it is to just ask that. The display will take you through the steps of picking the right contact, right email address, and then verify everything (or cancel) before it's sent.

Sharing happens over Google Photos, so the other person will get a prompt telling them they can view a photo now inside the app or in the browser.

When/Where was a photo taken?

"Hey Google, when was this taken?" OR "where was this taken?"

A smart digital photo album has proven to be one of the funnest additions to our kitchen counter. My husband and I often walk by, spot pics, and start reminiscing of times and places. However, there are those obscure photos that we can't exactly place, and in that instance, it's easy to just ask the display when or where that pic was taken. I wish the answer wasn't just verbal though — a pop-up card with the date/time along with name and map of the location would be great.

With on-screen interactions

Besides issuing these commands with your voice, you can use on-screen icons for the same effect. These are currently available on Google's first-party Hub and Hub Max, and recently rolled out to third-party Assistant displays from Lenovo and JBL.

Tap and hold on any image in the ambient slideshow and you'll get three icons in the bottom right: Share, Favorite, and Hide. These work the same way as described above, except you can trigger them by tapping instead of speaking the request. There's no on-screen element to ask for place and time, though, so you'll still have to ask for those details by voice.

If you have a Google Nest Hub, Lenovo's Smart Display, a JBL Link View, or any other Smart Display with Google Assistant, you can try these actions on them. Also make sure to check out the rest of our Smart Display Tips series for more tutorials.

On-screen interactions

This post has been updated to add the new on-screen buttons.