Google Photos update wants you to get creative - but there’s a catch

Three people with Chromebooks laughing
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Video editing is coming to Google Photos soon, allowing users to live out their film-making dreams - however, there may be some limitations. 

Users will soon be able to create and edit movies in just a couple of taps, as revealed in a lengthy Google blog post outlining the new movie-making features - and a raft of other recently released apps and tools. 

But there’s a catch. Right now, the video editing software is planned to be “available first on Chromebook”. And there’s no hint when - or even if - the feature will roll out to all Google Photos users.  

How does Google Photos video editing work?  

Screenshot of Google Photos free online video editor

(Image credit: Google)

The new offering appears to provide two options: automatic video creation or building your own project from scratch. The former lets users choose a theme and the subjects, letting the app whip up a montage of videos and photos, including what Google calls “the most meaningful moments” from longer clips. Users who prefer starting with a blank canvas will be free to simply search the photo cloud storage app, then add and reorder their own media.

Whichever route users take, they can then further trim clips, add titles, music, and narration, adjust brightness and contrast, or apply the recently released Real Tone skin filters. 

If the ChromeOS version is anything like the Google Photos video editor app on mobile, which launched last year, expect to see a movie editor that’s more in line with the simple, consumer-level Microsoft Video Editor when the feature rolls out. 

“For professional-grade video editing, the LumaFusion app is also coming to Chromebooks. LumaFusion’s multitrack video editor lets you add graphics, visual effects, transitions and distortions, audio tracks and sound effects, narration, color grading and more,” said Google.  

When TechRadar sat down with LumaFusion co-founders, Terry Morgan and Chris Demiris to discuss what is - in our view - the best video-editing app in iPad, they revealed to us:

“Developing for Android is definitely a challenge, one that requires an entirely separate development team. It’s basically rebuilding LumaFusion from scratch, but on a completely different OS, with different strengths and limitations.” 

Video editing isn’t the only update planned. The photo storage and sharing site also unveiled new features for pre-installed Chromebook apps. 

For creatives and content creators, chief among these are the forthcoming PDF editor tool for the Gallery app and opening up the newly launched free screen recorder app Screencast. 

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.