Google Photos’ best and creepiest feature is finally coming to Europe

Google Photos is a thoroughly good egg when it comes to backing up all of your photos free of charge, and allowing you to delete them from your smartphone’s hard drive with confidence.

However, Americans have been getting a better deal (or worse, depending on your perspective) from the get go. They’ve had access to a feature that automatically groups familiar faces into albums, allowing you to give them a name and make them easily searchable within your library.

To give you an idea of how good – or horrendously creepy – this feature is, there are photos of my niece within my library from when she was one-year-old. They’re automatically grouped with the photos of her taken this weekend. She’s 10.

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Damn, it even works on pets, meaning pictures of your pupper will be neatly segregated from your parents’ similar-looking doggo when it comes to creating an album of their finest dog moments. If you can put that – and the ramifications for what Google is gleaning in terms of machine learning to one side – it’s a pretty awesome feature.

Now Europeans, whose lawmakers are traditionally more stringent and sceptical of facial recognition technology, will be able to access the feature as part of a new Google Photos update. Reporting of the face-grouping update comes from Engadget. The site says you can manually enable the feature by checking out the “People Explore” view within the app.

According to a Twitter Q&A with the product lead David Lieb, the feature is about to get even better. Google will soon enable users to manually tag the faces in their photos, making it much easier to segment those images.

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Many European users have managed to get around the absence of the feature by using VPNs – blessed is the VPN – but that won’t be necessary once this rollout is complete.

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