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Tech tips

Google Photos tags your friends – See if your account is tagging strangers, too

Mobile phones have come a long way to replace our traditional digital cameras. Every smartphone is now capable is recording a video of what’s going on or snapping some fun holiday photos. But inevitably, there will be some people in the photos that you don’t know.

Google naturally doesn’t know this and assumes that every face in the picture is an acquaintance. This can create some awkward moments, as random people can be tagged in your photo collection. Tap or click here to remove pictures you don’t want to pop up in Google Photos.

The feature, called face grouping, has been part of Android’s functions for half a decade. It is an easy way to search for photos on your device of specific people. Every time a photo is taken or uploaded to Google Photos, the software creates a model of each face.

How to disable face grouping in photos

Similar faces are grouped, as Google assumes that it is the same person. If you know the people in your photos, this wouldn’t be an issue. But what happens when Google groups strangers and creates a tag for them? Luckily, there are several ways to prevent that from happening, and the first is to disable it.

RELATED: Upgrade your old Android to avoid losing access to your Google account

If you don’t want Google to group similar-looking faces, there is an option to turn it off completely.

  • On your Android phone, open the Google Photos app.
  • Sign in to your account if it doesn’t do so automatically.
  • Tap on your account profile image in the top right-hand corner.
  • Go to Photos settings and then tap Group similar faces.
  • Select the option to turn face grouping off.
  • You can also turn off face grouping for pets.

Just keep in mind that doing so will delete face groups in your account, face models used to create those face groups and face labels you created.

Find photos of specific people

Having the setting turned on can be helpful when you want to find photos of a specific person. For this, there are two ways that you can go about it. First, find all the photos of one specific grouping.

  • Open the Google Photos app.
  • At the bottom, tap Search.
  • Here you’ll see a row of faces. To see all the photos of one face, tap on it. This will display all the faces that Google thinks are the same person. To see more faces, tap on the View All button.

Now it is time to add a name to the face, which is done through labels. At the top of a face group, tap on the Add a name option. Insert a real name or a nickname, and you should be all set. In the future, if you search for the person’s name, the tagged photos will be displayed.

Removing a face group

Since the Google algorithm isn’t entirely accurate, there are bound to be some faces in a grouping that are wrong. Or there might be a stranger in the background that Google tagged. For this, you can easily remove or hide a face from a group.

  • Open the Google Photos app.
  • Tap Search at the bottom.
  • Select the View All option to see all faces.
  • Tap on the three-dotted More line in the top right corner.
  • Select the Hide & show people option and tap the faces that you want to remove.
  • When you are finished, tap Done.

To completely remove the photo from showing up, tap the Search bar at the bottom and select View all. Select the face that you want to remove, tap the More icon and then Remove results. Then, select the offending photos or videos and tap Remove in the top right. This will only remove the photos from search results and won’t delete the photo.

Change the group’s feature photo

So, you have grouped the right people and added a name to it. Now you need to set a featured photo for the group to tie everything together.

RELATED: Google Photos: 20 tips to help you take control of your pictures

In the Google Photos app, tap the Search bar at the bottom. Tap on a face group and tap the More options in the top corner. Select the option for Change feature photo and select the one you want to use.

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