How to Tag Faces Manually in Google Photos

Google Photos Manual Tagging Featured Image

Have you ever tried to find photos of someone to use at a graduation party or other occasion? It can take forever to look through all your digital images to find those you want. Now the Google Photos app has made it possible for you to manually tag photos instead of relying entirely on automatic tagging. Manual tagging lets you tag more accurately.

Google Photos has had automatic face tagging or the ability to locate and recognize faces in a photo and add a tag to that face naming the individual. Until recently, though, Google Photos would not allow you to tag a face that was not recognized or mislabeled. If there was someone in a photo that Google couldn’t recognize for some reason, there was no way to tag that person.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Taking Picture

The latest version of Google Photos allows you to tag the faces in the picture manually. The algorithm even locates the face of your pets. You can correct errors in the recognition by editing the tags Google applied to the images.

Google Photos will indicate the faces that are available to tag by placing a box around the faces. Unlike other tagging systems for photos, like the one on Facebook, you cannot select an area of the picture without a face and tag it. Google recognizes the presence of a face and makes it available to tag. You can only tag the faces.

Turn on Face Grouping

Google scans the picture for faces only if you have enabled the face grouping feature. To turn this feature on:

1. Tap Menu (three horizontal lines in the top left corner).

2. Choose Settings.

3. Click on Group similar faces.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Image Information Desktop

4. Turn Face grouping off or on.

To turn off face grouping for pets, turn off Show pets with people.

Tag Faces in Photos

Once you have activated Face Grouping, you can begin tagging all the faces in your photos. You can do this on both mobile devices and a desktop browser.

On a mobile device

1. Open Google Photos.

2. Locate an image you want to tag.

3. Swipe up until you see individual pictures of the people in the photo. People who already have been tagged will have their names under their faces.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Identifying Faces Mobile

4. To give a name to a person in a group, scroll to the right through the thumbnail images until you find the person you want to tag.

5. Tap the thumbnail.

6. Tap “Add a name” and name the person.

7. If there is someone in the picture who does not trigger a previously created person group, click on the pencil above the thumbnails.

8. Scroll down until you find that face. It is under the “Available to add” heading and will have a blue plus sign in the top-left corner.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Available To Add Mobile

9. Tap the face.

10. Tap the Plus sign in the top-right corner (not the blue one on the image).

11. Tap Create.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Create New Person Mobile

12. That face will appear with the other faces under the photo.

13. Tap the image and add a name.

On a PC

1. Open Google photos.

2. Click on the image you want to tag.

3. Click on the Image information icon. It’s a small i inside a circle.

4. You will see a section with the existing person groups.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Information Desktop

5. If there is a person or pet in the images that is not labeled, the information will indicate how many faces you can create a person group for.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Image Information Desktop

6. Click that notification, then click the face image.

7. Click the plus sign.

8. Click Create.

9. Click done and you will go back to the original information screen. Click the face image again.

10. Type the person’s name and press Enter.

Google Photos Manual Tagging Add Name Desktop

Once you have tagged the people in the images, you will be able to search for pictures of a particular person. If you’re looking for pictures of one of your children, type the name in the search box, and click on the result. All the photos with that face will appear. It’s amazingly accurate for babies, despite how much they change over the months.

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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