Mobility

How to add names to faces in Google Photos for easier searching

Do you have thousands of photos of employees or family that send you on a never-ending search for that "one" image? Google Photos has a hidden gem of a feature to rid you of the "scroll fest".

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Image: Jack Wallen

Google Photos is an impressive tool for both work and personal use. It allows you to create collections and group photos together, backup your photos, print your photos, share your photos...and so much more. But when you have a lot of photos of a lot of people, what do you do to make that collection easier to search? Say you are tasked with keeping all company personnel photos organized in such a way to make them easier to find within Google Photos. What do you do?

Thankfully, Google thought of this. Because Photos has an uncanny knack for recognizing faces (and grouping them together), you can add a name to a face and Photos will be able to locate photos with that face in it...so long as you add a name to the face. However, the trick isn't exactly easy to find. Fear not, I'm here to show you exactly how to find this feature. Once you learn it, you can never unlearn it (which is a good thing, as it's really quite handy).

First, the search

In order to add a name, you must first locate an image. How do you do that? From either the Assistant or Photos, tap the Search button (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A
Image: Jack Wallen

Searching for a photo on a Verizon-branded Nexus 6.

Once in the search screen, you'll notice a People section (Figure B). Locate the photo you want to add a name to and tap it.

Figure B

Figure B
Image: Jack Wallen

The People section of the Google Photos Search.

At the top of the next screen (Figure C), you will be prompted to answer a single question: Who is this? Tap that and you can now add a name to the face.

Figure C

Figure C
Image: Jack Wallen

Adding a name to photos of the cover model for one of my book series.

The name will be drawn from your Contacts. If the name isn't in your contacts, you can still add it, but it won't be as integrated into the rest of the ecosystem. I would suggest adding the name as a contact first (if it's not already listed in Contacts).

Now, when you run a search for a name in Google Photos, every image with the face associated with that name will appear...no tagging necessary (because Google has already done that for you).

Google Photos makes it incredibly easy to curate photos in such a way that searching for a face is but a step away. Attach names to those employee (or family) faces and you won't wind up having to scroll through all your collections just to find that one special photo.

Have you taken the time to get to know Google Photos? If so, what's your favorite feature?

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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