How to create custom highlight reels in Google Photos

Angled shot of the Google Photos app logo on a screen
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Google Photos just announced via tweet (spotted by Android Police) that you can now create highlight reels of "your favorite vacation, activity, or event in just a few taps." This new feature uses generative AI to filter through your photos and videos, find the best ones, and stitch them together with music so it's ready to post on social media in a few seconds.

Google says Android and iOS users should start seeing this new feature roll out by October 25, but it can usually take a few weeks for the feature to reach everyone. Here's how to see if you have access to the generative AI highlight reel feature yet, as well as how to use it.

How to create highlight reels with generative AI in Google Photos

This new generative AI feature may take some time to roll out to everyone's Google Photos app. You'll be able to tell you have the feature once you see a large + icon in the top right corner of the screen while you're on the Photos tab. If you see that + icon, follow these steps to make your first custom highlight reel in Google Photos.

1. Click on the + icon, and select Highlight video from the menu.

2. Search for key terms you want featured in your highlight reel. In the example Google uses, the search filters are "Japan" and "2023." Locations and time frames are likely going to be the easiest to use for this feature, but you can also add a person, animal, food, or activity as search filters.

3. After you've selected your search terms, click the blue Next button.

4. Wait a few seconds for Google's generative AI to gather up the best photos and videos and set them to music. 

5. Once the highlight video is generated, it's ready to share!

Or, if you need to edit the video before sharing it, you can easily do that. You can swap out the music, remove and reorder photos and videos, or edit the length of video clips.

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The + icon you use to create highlight videos with on the Photos tab can also be used to create other content types. Previously, creating custom content was a bit hidden in Google Photos. 

You would have to navigate to the Search tab, scroll down to Saved creations, and click on + New Creation at the bottom of the screen to see the menu that lets you generate an animation, cinematic photo, collage, or movie. Or, you could access this menu by heading to the Library tab, selecting the Utilities button at the top, and then scrolling down to the Create New heading.

Now, you can create all of these types of content as well as highlight videos by clicking the + icon on the Photos tab. There's also a quick link in this menu titled Photo books, prints, & more to send you to the Photo Store.

Once you have the ability to create custom highlight reels in Google Photos (and generative AI learns from your editing style), filling out your social media feed will be loads easier.