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Apple Photos takes on Google with new tricks

Tech titan says its photo app now offers better facial recognition, search and edit tools. It also lets you print photo books like Google Photos.


Craig Federighi, Apple's head of software, talks about improvements to Apple Photos Monday at WWDC in San Jose, California. 

James Martin/CNET
This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple's annual developers conference.

Apple announced some changes to its photo app Monday that might help it keep pace with rival Google on the photos scene.

Apple software head Craig Federighi said Monday at the Worldwide Developers Conference that the company is improving its facial recognition, search and edit tools in the latest version of Apple Photos.

Photos has a new persistent sidebar, as well as a better filtering menu for finding photos in chronological order. The Faces tool that identifies people in photos is improved, too, Federighi said, as names are synchronized across devices.

"When you put effort into categorizing and naming people, that's now synchronized automatically across your devices," he said. 

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He also said of your edits automatically synchronize back to your photo library.

Apple Photos will also let third-party printed photo book makers use Photos, too. 

Many of these features, such as printed photos books, mimic ones Google introduced for its photo app last month at Google I/O, which put Google ahead of Apple in terms of photo storage and organization.

This is a developing story. Follow our WWDC live blog for real-time coverage.