November 13, 2015
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Google has released an ad for their Google Photos app that features a luchador, a tattoo of a cat, and a lost romance.

It’s a humorous premise, sure, and it exaggerates the app’s current capabilities for comedic effect, but let’s take a look at how effectively information is crammed into this 40-second ad.

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October 29, 2015

Hold up. What is Google Photos?

Really? Okay fine. Google Photos is an service that provides cloud-based storage. The app doesn’t really replace your phone’s gallery so much as enhance it. Every picture that you take is automatically uploaded for you to access later. That way if your phone ever gets lost or stolen or drowned in the Marianas Trench, the pictures you snapped of sushi last Thursday night will be saved for posterity forever. It also has a pretty cool Assistant feature that compiles animations and highlight reels with or without your input.

Got it. Back to the wrestlers.

So anyway, the premise is that, while snapping photos of a masked wrestler, a woman discovers via Google’s image recognition capabilities that the wrestler is her former lover. What’s cool is how well this information is packaged. We see the wrestler leap and go into slow motion, camera flashes strobing. We’re taken into the smartphone interface showing the pictures as they are taken, with Google quietly running an image match in the background. This demonstrates Photos’ anticipatory search capabilities. You don’t have to tell it to look for similar images; it does it just in case you want them.

Recognizing the tattoo as a cat, Google begins showing publicly available pictures of cats. This is a pretty big deal. Previously, image recognition services like Google Goggles weren’t very good at identifying things like animals, but breakthroughs via Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence research have greatly increased Google’s recognition capacity in this area.

Next, we see that integrated into this passive image search is a private photo taken by the user. It’s someone with the same tattoo. This demonstrates that Photos not only consults public images, it also includes your personal images in its search results.

Meanwhile, the luchador is still falling. The subtext here is speed. Google Photos does all this instantly without even waiting for user interaction. In the time it takes a wrestler to hit the ground, Google has recognized a tattoo as a cat, searched for images of cats, found a personal image that matches more closely, and provided all this information to the user.

On top of this, they manage to throw in a joke and imply an entire storyline. Pretty elegant work, in my opinion. Are you a Google Photos user? What’s your favorite feature of the app? Let us know in the comments below! Not a Google Photos user? Pick it up in the Google Play Store:

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