Search Quirks in Google Photos

Jan 1, 2022

I like using Google Photos, as it has nearly all of the features I care about. However, the search capability is puzzlingly lacking, especially from a company whose core foundation is based on searching for stuff. One of the features that Google touts for Photos is their AI-enhanced searching capability. For instance, if you type a color into the search box, you'll see a listing of photos that feature that color; pretty neat! However, if you search for specific text that appears in your image descriptions, it won't provide any results.

One of things I tend to do for my wildlife pictures is enter the animal's identification into the image description: for example, the description for a picture of a male northern cardinal might look something like Northern Cardinal (Male). Later, if I happen to search for "northern cardinal," no results will be returned! I'd love to be able to search the meta-data (and maybe even the comments) for my photos. It would allow me to use the photos as a database of sorts, which is as it should be.

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