Microsoft’s OneDrive Gets Some of The Cool Features That Made Us Love Google Photos

OneDrive can now even identify Pokémon!


Over a year ago, Google spun off its imaging product, Photos, from Google+ and added a bunch of awesome features that have not only come to define it but also made users fall in love with it. Those features have included Google tapping into its algorithms to identify people, objects, text and other contextual information from the photos that users upload from their devices.

Others have been clever add-ons like the ability to identify photos taken at a similar place or around the same time and automatically grouping them together among many other little things that we like.

Taking a cue from these, Microsoft has recently updated its OneDrive app on both mobile and desktop to include most of them.

This is something I noticed early today when I got a notification on my smartphone that OneDrive had created a folder from photos we took with Sally yesterday for a feature article I am currently working on.


That was a pleasant surprise since I have come to not expect much from OneDrive other than automatically backing up all images I capture on the Huawei P9 or whatever device I am using at a given time. The furthest it goes is sending a “Weekend Recap” in the mail every Sunday evening or Monday morning if I had a busy weekend clicking away at every magical moment in my life.

This is the most I was getting from OneDrive before this latest update
This is the most I was getting from OneDrive before this latest update

I am actually glad that this is happening, as you can tell.

Some of the features that OneDrive is getting besides automatic folders also include “On this day”. This is a feature that Google Photos has implemented very well and has been the number one reason I open the app dutifully every other day once that alert pops up on the notification bar. According to Microsoft, OneDrive will help users relive their memories every day with reminders of images captured exactly that same time in a previous year. This will come in handy for all the #TBT junkies who’ve so far been reliant on Facebook’s Memories feature.

'Rediscover this day' is my favourite Google Photos feature and makes me go back to the app daily. It's coming to OneDrive as "On this day".
‘Rediscover this day’ is my favourite Google Photos feature and makes me go back to the app daily. It’s coming to OneDrive as “On this day”.

I take a lot of photos everywhere I go, normally. My shutterbug goes on overdrive when I am travelling abroad. As such, just searching for “planes” in Google Photos gets all the selfies I took at various airports during boarding time in an instant. OneDrive has not been too bad at that either as it can sift through images and deduce the text therein as well as identify objects in the images. But it is getting even better with the new update according to Microsoft.

Other than the automatic folders that OneDrive will create for you, it will also have much bigger thumbnail images and generally a better view of your existing folders that contain photos.

Microsoft has also given the Windows 10 OneDrive app, which only became available recently, a facelift to make it more user-friendly and incorporate all the new features.

Here’s the big one, Pokémon Go fans…

Everyone playing the sensational game Pokémon Go wants to “catch ’em all”, literally. However, it has proven to be quite a task. If we’re to use the one person reported to have done that as a benchmark of sorts, then it means we need to walk over 100 kilometres in order to achieve that. Which means every small milestone we achieve in the game is worth screenshotting and sharing on social media. If you happen to be a person who takes lots of screen grabs on any given day on your smartphone, fear not, OneDrive will make it easier sifting through the mess to find that specific screenshot that provides proof of your Pokémon prowess or your thriving Pokédex.

This is because Microsoft has added a “Poké detector” feature to OneDrive which automatically identifies screenshots from the Pokémon Go app and identifies the Pokémon therein to make searching them easier. That’s one thing I am not sure Google Photos is doing. Nice one, Microsoft.

If these new features don’t make you use OneDrive more than you already are then I don’t know what will. Unless, of course, you’re one of those feeling the pinch after Microsoft took back all the free storage it had previously given you and only left you with 5GB.