Google Photos was first announced in May 2015, so yes I am writing about this a bit late. Nonetheless it is an important subject, since like me there are a lot of people out there who love photos. If you are like me who is always on the lookout for a better app than you already have. Than Google Photos is the answer.

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Google Photos is essentially a photo sharing and storage, offering unlimited storage for 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p. If you want your photos to retain their original size (RAW), then you use your Google Accounts storage or let Google automatically down-size your photo to fit in the recommended size, which is what I do.

The app is virtually available and can be accessed using most popular platforms, i.e. iOS, Android and on the we using your browser.

To me, one of the most important and “killer” feature is “Automatic backups”. Once turned on in your app, then whenever you are taking a photo or a video, Google Photos instantly starts to upload it in your account on the cloud. You can choose to enable uploads over your cellular connectivity however I would recommend use upload Photos and videos over Wi-Fi. Albeit this is an important feature, but it is not unique, Microsoft’s OneDrive also offers similar functionality.

Prior to this wonderful services being around, especially cloud storages, I used to store my photos either on my external hard disk drives or NAS storage. Combining these two locations gives me 23GB worth of memories. Thankfully, Google allows to upload your greatest memories using backup & sync tool for Windows and Mac – available to download from here

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Google Photos has got a nice little feature known as “Assistant”. It automatically looks for moments and brings up to you. Like shown above, it has brought up photos from my trip to Dubai 2 years ago. It also combines related photos and makes a little animation. Or just turns a photo into a grayscale. If you like them, save and download them.

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Google being Google, the Search in this app is brilliant. You can type in almost anything that comes in your mind and Google brings it up. In my example below I wrote, “Trip to Dubai in 2016” and voila, my photos came up.

Google Photos search

Google under “Albums” also automatically makes various and useful categories, such as:

  • People: It searches for faces in your entire collection and presents it to you. So you can click on your brother’s face and all of his photos show up. Brilliant!
  • Places: Groups photos by locations
  • Things: Interestingly, it groups pictures by objects, places, sceneries. I mean, all pictures of cars will be grouped, all pictures of sky, mountains, rivers, trees, animals, beaches, flowers, parks, weddings and many other. Clicking on Wedding brings all photos taken during wedding. It may not be 100% accurate, because a wedding photo may bring up a birthday photo. But still it is a very useful feature.
  • Videos: Combines all videos together

Google in May 2017 also announced suggested sharing & sharing libraries. Another classic example of why Google Photos has become a must have app.

Google’s James Gallagher wrote in a blog post, “Suggested sharing uses machine learning to automatically identify photos and suggest recepients, making sharing as simple as single tap.” Similarly, sharing libraries identifies group of photos and people in it and suggests to share the entire library with them. You can of course choose individually who to share with.

Coming back to suggested sharing, what this means, if there is a photo in my collection that involves my best friend and most likely I haven’t shared with him the photo(s) already. Then Google Photos suggests to share this photo(s) with my best friend. Most probably I have my friend friend’s email saved in my Google account, so by simply tapping on the photo it automatically shares it with my friend. That simple.

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