I had almost given up hope. I knew other people in the world had received Google's unexpected largess in the form of an automatically generated slideshow video of their cats set to the tune of "The Blue Danube" waltz. Now it was my turn. A magic phrase popped up in the notifications on my Moto X over the weekend: "Your Meow Movie is ready." And I melted inside.
Google Photos has an automated assistant feature that handles several different functions. It reminds you of interesting old photos from years ago, applies comely Instagram-style filters to certain photos and occasionally generates a slideshow. If you're really lucky, it will magically deliver a "Meow Movie" stuffed with cat pictures from your Google Photos archive.
Google quietly introduced the "Meow Movie" feature in May when people first started reporting the existence of the cat-themed video slideshows. I longed for one of my own and Google finally delivered.
My movie stars Archer and Delia, two elderly sibling cats. Google Photos did a perfect job of identifying the cat pictures, though it doesn't care about the quality of the photo. Plenty of mine are out of focus or taken in poor lighting. No dogs slipped into the mix, even though I have lots of pooch photos in my archive.
One intriguing aspect of the video is that the only cats included are my cats, even though I have stockpiled pics of dozens of other cats, including my mom's cats and my brother's cats and a bunch of random cats I've met on the street. I sent a message to Google asking about this, wondering if the Google Photos assistant can really tell the difference between cats or if it's using location data or some other means to ID my fuzzy buddies. I haven't heard back yet.
The biggest issue with the video is the song. You will get it stuck in your head. You will walk around your house, see your cats and start singing "The Blue Danube" with a melody of meows. It will settle in your brain like that alien ear worm from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan."
You can alter the theme through the Google Photos app on your phone. There's a jazzy meow song option, but it can't top the sheer Monty Python-esque absurdity of "The Blue Danube." So I'm keeping it.
I can live with the soundtrack in exchange for how the "Meow Movie" makes me feel, which is warm like a cat in a sunbeam. It reminds me about how little Delia likes to perch on my shoulder and that Archer has conquered a considerable number of health problems over the years.
If you're a cat person, then you totally get why I'm stoked about my "Meow Movie," but don't worry if you prefer canines to felines. There's also a dog version of the feature that substitutes dog barks for the "Blue Danube" meows. And, yes, it's just as glorious.
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