Google Photos is a photo sharing and storage service developed by Google. Google Photos gives users free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. The service automatically analyzes photos, identifying various visual features and subjects. Users can search for anything in photos, with the service returning results from three major categories. Those being People, Places, and Things. Google Photos recognizes faces, grouping similar ones together. Geographic landmarks and subject matter, including birthdays, buildings, animals, food, and more.
Unlike other services, Google boasts that the images and videos stored are full HD, not compressed/low resolution copies. Instead of saving your entire library to the Google Photos app, all images displayed are grabbed from the Photos server – if you think this translates to long image loading times, you’d be wrong. Google Photos was demo’d during the I/O event for everyone to see, and images loaded up in full HD as soon as they were opened. It’s available not only for Android, but iOS and web too. It’s also completely free, no matter how many photos you upload.
Google Photos: Automatic photo organisation
Google Photos learns what’s important to you and then organises your photos based upon that information. The aim is to let you enjoy taking photos without having to worry about trying to organise them all, and if the demo we saw today is any indication, Google has succeeded. It’ll sort your photos over time based on places, people and things that matter most to you – and the best part is that you don’t need to tag anyone or anything, it’s all done for you.
The facial recognition feature is the most impressive method of organisation, as you can select a person and see all photos in your library that include them, from the moment they were born to modern day. However, it seems that the facial recognition feature isn’t available in all countries yet, and the UK is included in that list. You can also search using keywords, so you could type “football” to see all the photos taken at a football match.
Layout wise, the most recent photos are at the top but you can pinch to zoom out from days > weeks > months > years and back again, much like you can using Apple’s Photos app.
Google Photos: Share photos with friends
Sharing photos with friends is almost too easy with Google Photos. You can select a single photo by pressing and holding on it, or you can select a group of photos by pressing and holding one photo, then dragging it over other photos you want to include. Once all the photos are selected, tap Share and “Get link” and you’ll be given a URL.
This URL can be sent to any friend on any platform without the need for the Google Photos app. It’ll open in their browser, where they’ll be able to view the selected photos from your library in full HD instantly. If the person you’re sharing images with has a Google account, they can easily add the photos to their personal library with the click of a button.
Google Photos: Edit photos and create collages
Google Photos lets you backup and browse your entire photo and video library. It also lets you edit your collection too. It offers fairly standard editing tools including Light, Colour, ‘Pop’, Vignette. And if you don’t want to edit manually, there’s always the option to automatically enhance the photo. It works well, updating as you adjust the levels so you can fine-tune your edit.
There’s also the option to add a number of Instragram-esque filters to your photo. Though we’re not generally fans of filters, they have quite a few to choose from. You can also adjust the intensity of the filter, a feature welcomed by many.
More about Photos
It’s also worth noting that if you edit a photo in the Google Photos app and save it. You’ll be asked whether you want to update the photo in your stock image gallery. It’s great to edit the photo in Google Photos and have the original photo too. It saves a lot of time when enhancing a group of photos. The same can be said when deleting photos. If you delete a photo from Google Photos, the corresponding photo in your stock image library will be deleted.
Google also boasts some pretty cool tools that will generate collages, GIFs and edits of photos in your library automatically. Taken a burst of photos with friends doing weird faces? Google Photos will take them all and put them into a single GIF, ready to share. It also suggests edits of photos – we had a photo of London Bridge in our library and the app automatically applied a B&W filter to it, making it look more professional.
How To Upload?
If you’ve never signed into a Google account on your smartphone before, you’ll be prompted to log in. If you have, you should automatically be logged in to your Google account. Make sure that “Backup & sync” is selected or your photos won’t be backed up, and decide whether you want to upload your photos and videos over a cellular connection. Backing up over a cellular connection is great because photos are instantly backed up. But the downside is that it’ll eat into your data allowance. A bad move for people with data limits on their contracts. Once you’ve decided, tap continue.
The next page will ask you whether you want to store high quality images and videos. Or use your original files. This is a very important decision. The high quality option will reduce your file size without effecting quality. And the original files option will, as stated, upload the original files with no reduction. If you want to take Google up on their offer of free and unlimited storage, select high quality. If you select original files, it’ll eat up your Google Drive data allowance. Once you’ve made your decision, tap continue.
Google Photos will no longer let you upload unsupported video formats. It is done in order to limit the misuse of unlimited free storage.
The supported video formats are- .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, and .mkv files.