Big Google Photos update adds new three-tab layout, mapping feature, and even new icon (APK download)

Google Photos is easily one of Google’s most magical and indispensable services, and now you’re getting a tasteful redesign. The app is getting a simpler three-tab interface, and the map view previously detected in testing is now official. The new changes cover not only the app, but also the well-known reel icon, which has a simpler (and apparently polarizing) look. You can anticipate seeing these changes on your phone in the coming week.

All we have to follow for the redesign of Google Photos are the two GIFs that Google has provided, but the changes seem pretty straightforward.

We’ve seen several tight tab layouts, five to three in the past few months, and Google seems to have settled on the simplest fix seen most recently. Everything in the “For you” tab has been relocated in the Memories section, which also includes new types of Memories, such as the latest highlights and the best photos of you and your friends or family.

The new three-tab structure is pretty simple: You get a photo section where all your content lives in a simple timeline, like before, but now it has slightly larger thumbnails, autoplay videos, and less space between photos. The Memories carousel at the top also has larger icons to match.

The new mapping functionality.

Apparently, a new Search tab replaces the previous search functionality through the top bar of the app. That map view we saw earlier when testing lives in this section, along with bigger and better people and pets icons compared to the little ones we used to have in the previous quest. The map view is actually quite elegant, allowing you to see a heat map of your photo locations (assuming you take photos with location data) so you can track images by location or nostalgically remember what the world was like before coronavirus.

The Albums tab is gone, but most of its functionality is still present in the new Library tab, including browsing specific folders and albums, as well as archived photos and junk, plus a shortcut to the Print Store. The Sharing tab is also gone, but Google says the functionality can be accessed through the “conversation” button in the upper left corner on all tabs.

Old Google Photos logo, complies with the new Google Photos logo.

The new icon is a simplification of the old reel, and we’re pretty polarized about it here at AP. I like it, it is much simpler and easier to detect than the same application at a glance. However, others are receiving “swastika vibrations.” However, the connection between a pinwheel and a photo still eludes us.

Google also tells us that the web design will update and pick up the new icon over time.

We haven’t seen the new live interface on any of our devices yet, but Google says it should be rolled out, along with the new icon, over the next week. Google also confirmed to us that these changes are tied to an app version specific update (v5.0.0.abunchofnumbers) that is currently being rolled out. The Play Store app list was also updated shortly after publication with the new icon and screenshots of the updated app.

Download APK

We have the APK for this new version that you can load whenever you want:

Please note that it looks like there may still be a server-side component for the changes as we don’t have the new design on our own devices even after steps like deleting the app, clearing the cache or rebooting. As usual with Google app updates, your mileage may vary.

Google Photos
Google Photos