Microsoft has been making an attempt to rehabilitate its Photos app in light of the criticism leveled at it. Over the last year it has rolled out numerous changes and bug fixes, as well as a marketing video that attempts to showcase the role the app can play in editing photos and videos.
That video is a direct response to the main thrust of the criticism targeting Photos and its role as both an app to collect and view photos and videos, as well as edit and create videos. The latter positions it as a replacement for Windows Movie Maker that was discontinued when the Microsoft Story Remix feature was added to Photos.
Although Windows Movie Maker had a checkered record of its own, it ended its run on a relative high note. The Story Remix feature that was meant to act as its replacement however did not live up to expectations, and was criticized both for its lack of features as well as its unintuitive positioning within Photos.
Over the last year Microsoft has been actively deploying numerous updates that fix various bugs and issues, improve stability, and add features to Photos. One of the more recent updates that is currently being tested is an option to disable automatically created folders on OneDrive in response to users complaining that it was adding unnecessary clutter.
While some of its efforts have been well-received, others have sparked further controversy. The name of the app in particular was put in the spotlight when it appeared as though Microsoft may be renaming it to reflect the role that it played. That led to several renames on Windows 10 Insider updates that changed it from Photos to Story Remix, then to Photos & Videos, before finally back to Photos once again.
That episode was particularly frustrating for users as it seemed that Microsoft was soliciting their opinions only to ignore them. It should be noted however that the Story Remix name was not well-received either, and Photos & Videos was only slightly preferred.
Some of the other criticism of Microsoft Photos focuses on its features and the fact that the app is too simplified and unfocused. That was especially the case after some features were removed, including basic and useful options to adjust the brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows.
More recent updates have added some of the features back in and included new features, but the overall opinion of Photos as a tool to organize and edit photos and videos is generally low. It has led to many users looking for third-party apps that can perform those functions, for example a movie editor such as Movavi Video Editor or even tools such as Google Photos.
Despite that Microsoft seems to be committed to its Photos app and continues to roll out new updates for it to add to its functionality. Whether its efforts to push the idea that photos and videos belong together and that its app can act as a capable platform to organize, view, and edit them in basic ways remains to be seen.
For all the criticism of Photos it has made some impressive strides forward over the last year and many of its more troublesome bugs and issues have been ironed out. Additionally its features have grown steadily as well.
Although it may not yet be at the point where it will fully satisfy users who prefer past versions of Photos or Windows Movie Maker and other legacy apps, it seems to be on the right track to expand its functionality and make it a more acceptable replacement.