Now, Google has quietly brought dark mode to Google Photos (spotted by XDA-Developers), reportedly landing in version 188.8.131.52919200. However, it’s unclear whether this will be a server-side change on Google’s part or if you’ll need to update to this particular version. For what it’s worth, I updated to this version and didn’t see dark mode.
Unfortunately, this particular dark mode isn’t an OLED-friendly black but rather a dark grey. You should still see some power-savings if you’re using an OLED screen though, as Google noted with YouTube dark mode. Back in November 2018, Google confirmed that you’d get power savings of up to 60 percent when using YouTube’s dark mode on an OLED-equipped smartphone.
Recent Google Photos updates
A new gallery view
April 23, 2019: The latest update for Google Photos has added a new gallery view that helps users see which photos and videos have not yet been backed up. Users can then manually select which photos to back up, which will be helpful for those who don’t have auto-backup turned on.
Unfortunately, it appears as though Google has removed a useful existing feature at the same time. The search giant has removed the ability to browse your entire library in yearly view. Comfortable and day view are still live, but further pinching and zooming fails to bring up yearly view. Android Police found that the feature actually last appeared in V4.10, but we’re now at V4.14 and it has yet to be reinstated. Boo.
Auto-crop for documents
March 28, 2019: Google is rolling out a new auto-cropping feature to Google Photos on Android. The app will determine when you are viewing a photo of a document and then suggest you use the new auto-cropping tool.
The tool will also automatically rotate the image if necessary and also brighten it up a bit for clarity. These adjustments happen automatically — all you need to do is tap a button for each category. This new feature is rolling out this week.
March 19, 2019: Google is offering a new backup option in Google Photos called Express backup that provides faster backup at a reduced resolution, making it easier to ensure your photos are backed up even when you might have poor or infrequent Wi-Fi connectivity.
The company began offering this new backup option to a small percentage of people using Google Photos on Android in India last December and over the past week, it has started rolling out Express backup to more users in India. By the end of the week, Android users on the latest version of Google Photos should start seeing it as an option for backup. Google has shared that the company will bring Express backup to dozens of other countries, rolling out slowly.
October 11, 2018: Google is rolling out a new feature for Google Photos called Live Albums. The new Live Albums feature allows you to create photo collections on-the-fly using the power of Google Assistant. All you have to do is make a new album within Google Photos and then select the people you would like to appear in that album. Google Assistant will then create a photo collection for you.
The Live Album you create can then get displayed on either your new Google Home Hub, or on your Google Pixel 3 when you dock it on the Pixel Stand. Conversely, you can share or edit the album just like you would any other, manually-created photo album.
Google Photos 4.0 redesign with Material Design
September 6, 2018: The Google Photos 4.0 redesign with Material Design is rolling out to everyone. Along with a Google Photos Material Design theme, the app also gets a new swipe gesture that should make your life a bit easier when you’re looking for photo info.
The refreshed Google Photos Android app functions in much the same way as it did before, but with Google Photos 4.0, everything has a sleeker, more rounded look. There’s also a new swipe gesture included in the app. When you’re looking at a photo, you can swipe from the bottom up and you’ll easily see the information for that photo (device info, storage location, GPS coordinates where it was taken, etc.).
Love Story video theme
June 25, 2018: Google Photos now includes a new Love Story video theme. The theme automatically makes a movie with pictures and videos of yourself and your significant other. The inclusion of Love Story brings the total number of themes to 10.