Google Photos’ feature serving recognition of faces hasn’t been working properly for a while now. Despite being aware of the issue for long, the company didn’t do much about it, other than merely acknowledging that the functionality is indeed broken.

However, that changes now, as after a long period of silence, Google has made an effort to reach out to affected users.

Before discussing what the company has said, let’s quickly discuss the basics of the feature in question. The functionality is named People, and it allows you to label people and search for already labeled people. Once you label someone, you can search and find all their pictures by entering their name/label in the find bar on the top.


However, the functionality can only be accessed if the Face grouping option under Group similar faces in Settings is enabled.



Now, as per reports on the official Photos help forum, the face recognition/ people feature is broken for many since April, 2017. Specifically, what’s happening is that the functionality is not working with new images. Not only that, already recognized and labeled faces have also disappeared for many users.


The problem was quickly acknowledged back in April by an employee from Google. Here’s what they said while addressing the complaining users on the official Photos forum:

“We’re aware of this and our team is looking into it. I’ll post to this thread when we have an update to provide or if it’s been fixed”

Now, coming to the recent development, the affected users – who have been waiting for more than four months now – finally got to hear from another Google employee on August 30. Firstly they said,

the feature is not available in all countries

And secondly, despite being available, if the feature is not working, then

Please reply to this thread with an example URL of a photo that’s not recognizing faces

Here’s the complete statement


It’s worth noting that Google is assuring troubled users that privacy won’t be an issue as other users in the forum won’t be able to access photos through shared URLs as long as photos are private (not already shared publicly).

So it’s clear that the company is working to resolve the face recognition glitch in its Photos app, but there’s no information on how long will it take for a fix to arrive. While we aren’t sure, the company might try resolving the problem on case-by-case basis, similar to the way it’s being done for the Photos/Drive video sync issue.

Anyway, in case you are among the ones troubled, we suggest you to follow what the company is saying, and share (as an example) the URL of a photo for which the feature isn’t working – head here for this. Finally, rest assured, we’ll keep you updated if and when there is any further development.

Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3 | Source 4 | Source 5 | Source 6

Dr. Aparajita Sharma
1227 Posts

Currently, I am pursuing Ph.D (Psychology), and have been teaching the same for past four years. Coming to PiunikaWeb, I know it was a complete switch over, but the idea was appealing enough to put in all the effort it called for. My work primarily involves research. Oh, and yes, some of the photographs you see here are clicked by me. Overall, I am enjoying whatever I am doing, and hoping you’ll also feel the same reading all my articles. You can find me on LinkedIN.

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