Google Photos tests Photo Frames for Chromecast and Nest Hub displays

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Google Photos is in my top 3 list of favorite Google services. I use it to store all of my photos, and I also use the Android app as a basic photo editor. Recently, Google rolled out the ability to search your photos by the text that’s in them. Version 4.23.0.265533473 recently rolled out on the Google Play Store, and we managed to activate a neat new feature. The feature we activated is called “Photo Frames,” and it provides a similar selection compared to the Google Home app’s Ambient Mode.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

If you open the Google Home app and select a Cast device on your network, you can choose what gets shown when your Cast device is idle. One of the Ambient Mode options is the ability to show a slideshow using an album from Google Photos. You can choose an album you already made, the “recent highlights” option which is an album of your best photos curated by Google, or an automatically updating album of a friend or family member.

Google is preparing to add a similar feature to the Photos app. When enabled, a new option called “Photo frames” will appear in the sidebar. Tapping on this item shows a list of Chromecasts and smart displays (like the Google Nest Hub) that you can select to manage which albums to display on them. You can choose the following options:

  • People and pets: An auto-updating album of recognized people and pets.
  • Recent highlights: An automatically curated album of your best photos.
  • Favorites: Any photos you marked as a favorite.
  • Or any other manually created album of your choice.

Once you select an option, the previous screen will update to reflect the change. I selected “Recent Highlights” and my Chromecast started showing photos from my recent trips.

The photo frames option doesn’t show up on my OnePlus 7 Pro or ASUS ZenFone 6 running the latest version of the Google Photos app, but we aren’t sure if the feature is being A/B tested. We haven’t seen any reports of the feature showing up on any devices, but we’ll update this post if any user reports crop up. You can download the latest version of the Photos app from the Play Store link below.

Google Photos
Google Photos

Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.

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