Microsoft has silently released an add-on for the Windows 10 Photos app. Inventively named ‘Photos Media Engine Add-on', it promises to improve just that. According to the app's description it “activates advanced search capabilities in Microsoft Photos and subsequently helps users find their photos by people, places, or things”.
How exactly it improves the search capabilities is quite unclear. Photos already lets users search by people, places, and things, as well as the text in images. The add-on comes in at 93MB, which isn't an insignificant size.
In our testing, we couldn't see any major difference between either the objects Photos can detect, nor the results it returned. It still failed to live up to the capabilities of Google Photos, for example and was unable to properly detect basic elements like beards or grass. However, it's worth noting that Photos can take a while to properly index images, so it could be that more time is just required to get to full functionality.
It's also possible Microsoft will continue to add features in future updates, or that it simply introduces ones we're unaware of. The add-on is available for all versions of Windows 10, so it may be designed for older builds if they don't have advanced search.
Either way, you can grab the Photos Media Engine add-on from the Microsoft Store. With hope, the company will provide some additional clarity about what it does at a later date. This version was spotted by ALumia yesterday, and also works with ARM devices.