This subtle (but useful) AI feature was my favorite Google I/O 2024 announcement

Ask Photos

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

The dawn of smartphones placed extremely powerful cameras in users’ pockets, making it easy for us to take photos of everything all the time. The result? Our smartphone photo albums can contain tens of thousands of images, and finding the photo you want is nearly impossible. Google’s new AI feature offers a solution.

Also: Everything announced at Google I/O 2024: Gemini, Search, Project Astra, and more

On Tuesday, at its Google I/O annual developer conference, the company unveiled a new “Ask Photos” feature in Google Photos. By leveraging Gemini AI, the feature enables users to ask the chatbot to find a photo for them instead of having to look through thousands of photos themselves. 

For example, Google says, instead of typing in the keyword “license plate” and scrolling through all of the photos themselves, users can now ask, “What is my license plate number?” Gemini will pull the number for them, using context to identify which car belongs to the user. 

In another example, a user who wants to see their daughter’s progress as a swimmer over time can ask Google Photos to do that, and Gemini automatically organizes the highlights for them. 

Also: Google Photos users will soon get the best AI editing tools on Pixel devices for free

Google shares that the feature will roll out to Google Photo users later this summer, with more capabilities to come. Even though the feature is not yet available, If you are excited about it, you can prepare your photos ahead of time by backing up all of them to Google Photos. 

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