I take a *lot* of pictures. Even before the iPhone put a camera in my pocket, I was always keen to take pictures. I couldn’t say I take good pictures but they are a record of my travels and adventures. I’ve recently gone ‘all in’ with Google photos and here is why…
Almost all of my photos over the last decade are digital so I need a place to store them and a place to back them up. I have them on various hard drives and in the cloud with dropbox but it has been getting a bit messy. The combining factors of me taking the same picture many times (you know, just in case I didn’t get it the first time) and my desire to backup everything in triplicate means I have hundreds of thousands of files.
A combination of Dropbox for cloud storage and Google’s [now defunct] Picasa for viewing was useful, but I would have to manually put the photos into folders, manage duplicates and so much more. I looked around for a better solution and looked at Google Photos.
About a month ago, I decided to make Google Photos my primary tool for storing and viewing my photos. They still get backed up in different places, but I am going ‘all in’ with Google Photos. I put this quick post together to share why I think it is the right platform for my photos now and into the future.
1. Cost – To be honest, cost wasn’t my first consideration. The free option is great if you are on a budget but it won’t save the original file resolution, instead it will give you optimised versions. That may be fine with you but I still like to feel I have the original file, even if I don’t do anything further with it. With up to 1TB storage, Google will charge 7.99 GBP per month if you want the originals. You can save money paying annually or pay more to get even more storage.
As a guide, I have all of my photos on there and I’m only just half full on storage. (Note, I think I got extra storage during Google promotions so they are worth looking out for.)
Photo sharing has got a lot better lately. You still can’t share your file library but you can share album by album. The other recipients need to have Google/Gmail accounts but after that you can share with them in two clicks.
You can access photos from any web browser or from your Android or iPhone.Upload speeds in the browser are very fast and it used smart technology to ensure you aren’t uploading duplicates.
The mobile versions can be connected to background upload all of your photos which means you don’t need to worry about opening the app to save your photos. The app also offers useful tools to create new content (more on that down the page) and timely reminders of historic events and photos.
You can use the app for basic image editing or open it into Snapseed for more advanced image editing. The mobile assistant will also notify you of suggested image edits (like rotations) which you can choose to accept.
4. Smart Search
Google photos can be so much more than just photo storage. For me, one of the best features is the search function. Unlike file searches, where you would need to specify the filename, the date or the folder name you created, Google Photos provides plain language searching. Type in ‘July 12’ and you will see photos taken on July 12 throughout your history.
Type in ‘birthday cake’ and it will present to you images of cakes. Ideal if you want to find cakes from years gone by.
You can go crazy with these searches – search for locations, people or objects.
5. Create new content from your images
Once you have pictures into Google photos, it will start to make creations. These can be stylized photos, mini movies or collages from similar pictures.
You can choose to add these to your library or create your own content.
This year, for Father’s day, they made a quick video simply by asking you to tag the ‘father’ and child. Within a few minutes you have pictures from your life with a cheesy soundtrack but it’s nice. You can of course use other tools to create more advanced videos or stylised photos but this is a great way to gain more content from your existing photos.
I will continue to back up my images elsewhere but I will always lead with Google Photos. We know that Google continues to invest in image recognition technology so I think in the future Google Photos could be even better.
With the free option available now, maybe it’s time to give it a shot?