[Update: More info] Microsoft might add ‘Photo Story’ feature to OneDrive mobile app
OneDrive is the cloud storage service from Microsoft, but the service isn’t just focused on file management. It also serves as the company’s alternative to Google Photos, with similar photo backup features, but it lacks much of the functionality that has made Photos an excellent product over the years. There might be a new feature for photos on the way, though.
Microsoft OneDrive 6.49 Beta 1, which has been rolling out on the Play Store over the past few days, includes text strings that reference a new ‘Photo Story’ feature. The strings indicate it’s only available to Dogfood accounts, meaning only accounts that Microsoft has enabled for testing can access it.
<string name="photo_stream_no_sent_invites_content_description">Tap Invite to start inviting people to your Photo story.</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_not_opted_in_dismiss_button">Dismiss</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_not_opted_in_get_dogfood">Get Dogfood</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_not_opted_in_message">Photo Story requires a OneDrive dogfood account to use</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_not_opted_in_title">Dogfood Required</string>
The strings don’t reveal much about how Photo Stories work, but they could mirror the ‘Memories’ functionality that was added to Google Photos in 2019, which are automatically-generated slideshows of photos from specific times or places that you can see in the app (and optionally share to others).
Microsoft tested a ‘Photo Story’ application for Windows Phone back in 2015, which allowed people to create video slideshows with custom music from selected photos. That application wasn’t directly tied to OneDrive, and it was seemingly never released on iOS and Android.
Even though Microsoft is apparently testing Photo Stories internally, we don’t know for sure if the functionality will be completed and rolled out to everyone. The company could drop the feature, or rework it into something else.
Update: Latest OneDrive beta reveals more info about the Photo Story feature
An APK teardown of the latest OneDrive beta for Android (v6.50_Beta_3) has revealed new strings related to the upcoming Photo Story feature. The new strings reveal that users will be able to manually create posts (or Photo Stories) using the feature and share them with family and friends. The posts “will show on your story and in your followers feeds so they can like and comment.”
<string name="photo_stream_onthisday_continue_fab">Continue</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_onthisday_createpost_fab">Create a post</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_onthisday_createpost_tooltip">Share memories with your circle.</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_onthisday_footer_subtitle">Posts will show on your story and in your followers feeds so they can like and comment.</string>\n<string name="photo_stream_onthisday_footer_title">Share your memories on photo story</string>
We were not able to enable the feature manually in the current beta release, which leads us to believe that it’s still a work in progress. But we expect to learn more about the feature in subsequent OneDrive updates, and we’ll make sure to let you know as soon as we have more details.