Microsoft has started making an updated photo app available to Windows Insiders, complete with an updated “Memories” experience that archives photos from a particular time or location.
The new Photos app is being made available to Windows Insider beta participants, specifically the Dev Channel. Typically, code released by the Dev Channel carries the warning that it may never be released to the general public.
In this case, however, Microsoft has already announced that its October update for Windows 11’s 2022 update will include the new Photos app, giving it the seal of approval. (Although Microsoft has referred to these new features as a new set of experiencesalso used the term “controlled feature release” to describe them.)
“The update brings a beautiful gallery, simplifying the navigation, location, management and consumption of your photo collection. It also lets you easily back up your photos to OneDrive, enjoy powerful experiences on Windows devices, and offers a delightful ‘Memories’ experience,” the company said in a blog post.
The new photo experience appears to preserve the original editing experience, complete with crop, adjust, filters and markup tools, including the AI-driven “Auto Enhance” feature. It doesn’t add back the “point fix” feature that Microsoft previously removed.
Instead, the emphasis is on organizing your photos, with a slightly more pronounced focus on OneDrive, as in the new File Explorer, where Microsoft now shows you how much OneDrive space you’ve consumed, with an offer to sell more. Microsoft also removed the “legacy” video editor. Instead, Photos now encourages you to use Clipchamp, the great video editor now included with Windows. The new “Memories” feature doesn’t look too different from how Microsoft has organized photos by location, like on a trip, however.
Even if the new update is considered a little tepid, it is a sign that Microsoft continues to prioritize the application. With so many consumers using smartphones as their primary cameras, photo management and editing are key features, and Microsoft will need Windows to be a player in the space.