The Google Assistant preferences page allows you to sign in and select what services to use on Smart Displays and speakers. A small tweak today sees Google Assistant separate settings for “Photos” from “Videos.”

Update 8/13: Google has expanded this Assistant preference with a list of your available Smart Displays to “Show your photos on this shared device.”

This includes memories and personalized photo results. If you’re the owner of a device but it isn’t listed, you first need to turn on proactive results for that device.

The on/off toggles — which have been updated to show state (minus or checkmark) in the knob — are off by default. Meanwhile, the “Turn on proactive results” button opens the current “Personalization” menu.

In our testing, even when disabled, we can successfully ask Assistant to search our Google Photos library via voice commands, e.g. “Show my photos from San Francisco.” As such, it’s unclear what exactly this setting does right now. It’s possible the capability isn’t enabled yet.

Original 6/4: Since Assistant’s launch, Google has offered a unified “Videos & Photos” menu that first lists streaming services. The bottom of this page is home to a toggle for enabling/disabling Google Photos access.

Today, “Photos” became its own menu — “See your photos on all Assistant devices” — item. Like before, only Google Photos is listed with your email address also shown and the toggle. “Availability” names Google Home, Android (6.0+ Phones, Tablets, TVs), Smart Displays, iPhone, and iPad.

This change could just be Google simplifying Assistant settings with clearly defined pages for users. There’s nothing else today to suggest otherwise. 

However, if one were to speculate, Google could open Assistant to other image backup services. Amazon Photos and Apple’s iCloud Photos come to mind as possible candidates. It would, of course, be up to those two companies to allow you to see uploaded pictures and videos across Google devices. In the case of the retailer, its offering is one selling point for Amazon Echo devices, while Apple does not have a smart home device with a screen yet. 

Again, this is just speculation, with the icon Google using in Assistant settings just being the one for Google Photos. The settings menu has always been quite general even though only one service has ever been supported.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: