Google Photos is easily one of Google’s most magical and indispensable services, and now it’s getting a tasteful redesign. The app is getting a simpler three-tab interface, and the map view previously spotted in testing is now official. The new changes cover not just the app, but the familiar pinwheel icon, too, which is getting a simpler (and seemingly polarizing) look. The changes, which were officially announced last week on June 25, are now rolling out to users via a server-side switch. Every device and account we have, in multiple countries, already has the new interface.

Google has provided two GIFs to showcase its new Photos experience, and the changes are pretty straightforward.

Over the last few months, we’d spotted several tweaked tab layouts, from five to three, and it looks like Google has settled on the simpler arrangement that was most recently tested. Everything in the “For you” tab has been relocated to the Memories section, which is also picking up new types of Memories, like recent highlights and the best photos of you and your friends or family.

The new three-tab structure is pretty simple: You get a Photo section where all your content lives in a simple chronological feed, like before, but now it has slightly larger thumbnails, auto-playing videos, and less space between photos. The Memories carousel at the top also sports larger icons to match.

The new mapping functionality.

A new Search tab seemingly replaces the previous search functionality via the top bar in the app. That map view we previously spotted in testing lives in this section, together with bigger and better people & pets icons, compared to the tiny ones we used to have in the old search. The map view is actually pretty snazzy, letting you see a heat map of your photo locations (assuming you take photos with location data) so you can track down images by location or nostalgically remember what the world used to be like before coronavirus.

The Albums tab is gone, but most of its functionality is still present in the new Library tab, including browsing specific folders and albums, as well as your archived photos and trash, plus a shortcut to the Print Store. The Sharing tab is also gone, but Google says that functionality can be accessed via the “conversation” button in the top left corner across all tabs.

Old Google Photos logo, meet new Google Photos logo. 

The new icon is a simplification of the old pinwheel, and we’re pretty polarized about it here at AP. I kind of like it, it’s a lot simpler and just as easily spotted as the same app at a quick glance. However, others are getting “swastika vibes.” The connection between a pinwheel and a photo still eludes us, though.

Google also tells us that the web layout will be refreshed and pick up the new icon over time.

Google had already confirmed to us that these changes are tied to a specific app version update, which has been rolling out on the Play Store for the past few days. If you haven’t received it yet, we’ve got the APK for you to sideload at your leisure:

However, there’s still a server-side component to the changes, as we tried for several days to trigger the new UI but failed, despite taking the usual steps of installing the new version, killing the app, clearing cache, or rebooting. Then, over the past few hours, many of our tipsters and our own team members noticed that the new UI is now live for them across devices and accounts. So it appears that Google has finally pushed the server-side button that enables it for (nearly) everyone. But as usual with Google app updates, your mileage may vary.

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