“Oh geez! My smart phone is out of memory again.” I used to say that pretty regularly. But since I found Google Photo using and upgrading my iPhone has become so much easier.
You’ve captured a tremendous photo, like the one above, using the panorama function on your iPhone. Or you’ve saved a time-lapse video of driving through the Grand Teton. Both are going to gobble up memory on your smartphone. You could pay Apple or your cell provider every month to save these treasures in the cloud…but if you are as frugal as I am, FREE is even better than $0.99/month.
Google Photos to the Rescue
I’ve had a “Gmail” account for many years, but you don’t need to switch your email provider. You do need to create a Google account, but this just takes a few seconds. Once you have done this, the world of Google is available to you. If like me, you use their free word processing (Docs) and spreadsheet (Sheets) software, which look a lot like Word and Excel, you are likely familiar with Google Drive.
Though Google provides you a healthy 50GB of FREE storage, you may have been concerned that that isn’t enough for your photo and video library. Good news! Assuming you are willing to upload your photos using a maximum resolution of 16 mega pixels, more than adequate for a smartphone picture, there is no limit to the photos and videos you can store. To date, I have uploaded every photo and video from every device and smart phone I have to Google’s cloud and as you can see in the photo on the left, each counts as 0 towards my total storage allotment. If I were hoping to display a black and white photograph in an Ansel Adams exhibition, this resolution might not be adequate…but in my case, I am showing mom a photo of Mt Rushmore.
Google Photos…More than Just Free Storage
If you are used to using your cellphone’s or wireless carrier’s cloud solution, you might be saying what’s the big deal. If you explore the additional benefits of Google Photo you may be inclined to switch.
Google Photos is scary smart: Not only will it organize your photos by date, etc. It offers
- Facial Recognition: Identify a friend or yourself on one photo, then enter that name via its search bar and it will display every photo that includes that person.
- Place Recognition: I typed Kelpies into the search function, and it displayed all the photos I had taken of this magnificent sculpture during a trip to Scotland. Mind you, I had never identified the horse heads in the photos by this name…it just knows. Likewise, if you type in Yellowstone, it will pull photos you have taken of our first National Park. (Note: I tried to experiment by searching for “horse heads”. It found these photos, but also others that didn’t include horses…so nothing is perfect.)
- Photo Editing: Google discontinued support for the photo-editor Picasso in early 2016…but you can find the same editing functions in Google Photos. Brighten, add contrast, try one of the many color schemes they offer. Play around till your heart is content…save…or revert to the original.
- Collages: Have a group of photos you want to share with a friend, make a collage for added impact.
- Assistant: Assistant seems to be, or is similar to, the function Facebook sometimes uses which creates a video for you when you take a bunch of pictures in a single day. Some of them are fun and share-worthy…others I discard.
There are many great posts on how to use Google photos if you just Google it. In this post, we have just scratched the surface. Of course, YouTube will offer you step by step assistance if you prefer. Your first step is to download the Google Photo app to your iPhone or another smartphone. Then take your time and have fun.