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Is Google Photos about to turn into a social network of sorts? (APK teardown)

A notification feed with likes, comments, and more could be coming to Google Photos.

Published onMay 30, 2024

Gogole photos logo on smartphone next to other devices and picture frame Stock photo 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • A teardown of the Google Photos app has revealed that an overhauled sharing page could be in the works.
  • This new page is basically a notification feed, listing likes and comments for your albums along with other alerts.
  • The teardown also suggests that Google Photos could offer a UI improvement to storage management. 

Google Photos is still the king of photo backup services, and the company is constantly bringing new features and editing tools to the platform. Now, it looks like Google is planning a significant revamp of the sharing page.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Android Authority and leaker AssembleDebug have discovered evidence that Google Photos could gain a social-focused sharing page and a helpful UI improvement when trying to claw back more storage. We enabled these features in version of the Google Photos app for Android.

Starting with the overhauled sharing page, Google Photos could replace the current sharing icon (next to your profile picture) with a notification icon. Tapping this new icon opens a “Sharing Activity” page, which is effectively a social notification feed. This page lists likes and comments for your albums while also alerting you when someone adds photos to your album. Strings suggest that this new page could also notify you when you’ve been added to a group, along with the name of the person who added you. The current “Shared links” page isn’t going anywhere, though, as it’s accessible by tapping the ellipsis icon in the top-right corner. Check out the video below for a better idea of how all this works.

This would be a big change from the current Google Photos app. Right now, tapping the sharing icon takes you to a page that’s primarily focused on creating and sharing new albums, while also letting you view existing albums and memories. This change suggests that Google wants to focus on the social aspects of Google Photos in a future version of the app.

Google could be working on another notable tweak to Photos, introducing a new meter of sorts to help you claw back more storage. This meter will appear when you tap a category (e.g. screenshots, blurry photos) in the “review and delete” section of the manage storage page. This meter shows how much storage you can free up by taking all of the suggested actions under “review and delete.”

The new meter would be a small but welcome addition to Google Photos, but the overhauled sharing page would be a big change to the service. It certainly suggests that Google wants to embrace social network functionality on the platform. In fact, it looks like Google would only need to implement a home feed of sorts to have the bones of a social network on Google Photos.

Our discovery also comes months after we unearthed a My Week feature on the app, which allows you to share the highlights of your week with specific people. PiunikaWeb later reported that this feature would also support likes.

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