Google Photos is a huge improvement over Android’s old “Gallery” app, but it does a lot more than just keep your stuff organized and synced. You can easily manipulate your photos into some very cool, shareable collages, animations, and even movies.

If you have a modern Android phone, then you likely have Google’s Photos app installed. If not, you can get it from the Play Store—and you’ll probably want to. It’s more than just a simple photo manager: it’s a backup system, a light editor, and a powerful tool that lets users transform simple photos into something much more meaningful.

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Most of its power lies in the Assistant feature, which you can access by tapping the “Assistant” link at the very bottom of the main Photos window. From here, there are a variety of things you can do, but we’re going to focus on the top options: Album, Collage, Animation, and Movie. Before we look at those, however, I do want to mention that Photos will often create these things for you under certain circumstances, like when several similar photos are taken together, for example. When this happens, it will generate a notification to let you know; from there, you can delete the animation or save it. It’s neat.

But if you want to build something for yourself instead of waiting for Google to do it for you, that’s incredibly easy: just pick one of the top options on the Assistant page. For this example, we’ll put together a collage, but the process is essentially identical across the board.

First, choose your option (again, in this case, we’re going with “Collage”). This will open the gallery window, allowing you to select multiple photos. For a collage, you can select between two and nine pictures—for most of the others, you can select up to 50 photos, because that makes more sense for an animation or video. Let’s go with four, because that really just seems like a good number for a collage.

Once you’ve selected the photos, go ahead and tap the “Create” button in the top right. A brief progress bar will show up, followed by your new creation. It’s all very, very simple, which is really the biggest benefit and weakness of Assistant: there are very little customization options going on here. For example, in our collage, we didn’t get to select a layout or format—it just slapped the images into a standard 4×4 layout. Sometimes this is fine, but others it may seem lacking. Of course, if you want to do more, there are plenty of tools for the job—Photos’ Assistant is great because it’s so simple.

After your collage, animation, or video has been created, it will automatically be saved to your gallery and backed up (assuming your settings allow this, of course).

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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