Google Photos' New "Memories" Feature Looks Like IG Stories, But It's Way Different

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Calling all nostalgia lovers: Google Photos now makes it easy to view all of the pictures and videos you've taken in years past. The technology company announced its new Memories feature in a press release Thursday. Much like Facebook's "On This Day" feature, Google Photos' Memories pulls old content taken on a date in previous years. But unlike Facebook, Google Memories shows you pictures and videos from your camera roll, even if you didn't share them on social media. If you're wondering how to use Memories on Google Photos, I've got good news — it's really simple.

First, open the Google Photos app on your smartphone. If you don’t have it, it's available for download on both iOS and Android devices and doesn't cost anything. When you first download it, the app will back up all of the pictures and videos on your device, so you won't be able to use Memories right away if you have a lot of photos and videos to add to the Google Photos app. (I’m currently sitting at nearly 10,000 pictures and more than 2,000 videos on my camera roll, and it took several hours for the app to load all of my files.)

Once you have the app and your pictures are backed up, you’ll see Memories at the top of the screen. The circular icons are organized by the number of years that have passed. They read "1 year ago," "2 years ago," and so on. From there, if you tap on the icon for "1 year ago," for example, a slideshow of your pictures taken that same week in 2018 starts to play. While the format is similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories, the pictures are still private and can only be seen by other people if you decide to share them.

Of course, there are times in life that no one wants to be reminded of. If you’re not excited at the thought of seeing a person or time period, you can hide them from appearing in Memories. Tap the three lines at the top of the screen, then select Settings. Scroll down until you see "Manage what you see in your memories." From there, you can select people and pets to exclude from Memories and even pick dates to hide. If you'd rather not see any pictures or videos from previous years, you can turn off the feature in Settings. Look for the "Show memories above all your photos" button and toggle it off.

Memories isn't the only big change Google announced this week. The Google Photos app now lets you order 4-by-6 inch prints for same-day pickup at CVS Pharmacy and Walmart, and you can also order photo books and canvas prints. Tap Assistant at the bottom of the Google photos app, and look for the Print Store tab. You can select the pictures and checkout using Google Pay. If you order before Sept. 30, shipping is free.

If you like reminiscing on the past and enjoy apps like Timehop, Memories now offers another way to do so. Google says in its press release that it'll be easier to share photos with your friends in the Google Photos app in the next few months, but you won't have to wait to print pictures or use Memories — both features are available right now.