If you are like millions of others and have a smart phone, you probably take more pictures with it than you do with an actual camera. But, do you upload or download your pictures on a regular basis? I don’t, until my phone tells me that I’m out of memory. Then, I have to begrudgingly find a cord and upload my photos to my laptop. The other day, another staff member was telling me how convenient Google Photos is for storing and organizing photos you take with your phone. I decided to look into it. I was amazed and felt compelled to share it with all of you!
Google released Google Photos as a stand-alone service in May of 2015. (Previously, Google Photos was only offered if you used Google+.) Google Photos is available for both Androids and Iphones. Just like many of Google’s services, Google Photos provides a free and paid version. The free “unlimited” version does have a maximum picture size of 16 megapixels and 1080p HD video. So, if you upload a picture or video of greater quality, Google will automatically downgrade your photos and video to fall within the maximum limits.
Google Photos will allow you set up your android phone to automatically upload your photos for online storage. You can set Google Photos to upload only when Wi-Fi is available (avoiding the use of your data plan to upload photos.)
Google Photos automatically groups photos by the date the photo was taken and will create folders for those dates. But, if you prefer to organize your photos yourself, you still can. When using your mobile device, you can customize how you view your photos on Google Photos to view them daily, monthly, yearly, etc.
In the screen shot on the left, you will see that it is on daily. I chose to change it to yearly view. On the right, you see a screenshot of the yearly view.
Google Photos also allows you upload photos from other devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.) Once uploaded, you can also download your photos to other devices.
So, what happens when want to find a photo? You use the search feature! (This was the part that hooked me.) The search feature (the magnifying glass in above screenshot) will sort pictures by topic. For example, you are looking for that picture you took of your garden a few months ago, type in garden and Google Photos will pull up all the photos that look similar to a garden.
In this screenshot, I searched for horses and Google brought up pictures I took of my kids playing on a spring horse and pictures of real horses.
Other great features are the edit, share, and assistant features. The edit option allows you to do basic editing like adjusting brightness, contrast, color, crop, and rotate. The share option allows you to share by sending a link or through social media sites. The Assistant feature will automatically create collages, videos and tweak photos automatically, which you can choose to save or not. You can also create your own collages and movies. After using Google Photos for a few short days, I have become a big fan and like knowing my photos have been backed up automatically.
In the screenshot on the right, I selected the pencil to edit the picture. The options for editing are displayed in the left screenshot.
On the right, is a screenshot of the Assistant (To select the Assistant, I touched the four lines on the top left corner.) The screenshot on the left, displays when you touch the + on the top right side. This menu will allow to create items shown.