I like mobile photography and for me it’s one of the most important purposes of a Smartphone, so I’m always looking for new ways in which to manage my photos.
Last week at I/O 2015, Google announced Google Photos for both Android and iOS platforms. It caught me a little by surprise, but with the might of Google behind it, I thought I would give the app a try to see how it could fit into my photo-heavy life.
Traditionally I’ve used a NAS drive to store my Photos and Videos with a USB drive performing backups. My NAS has always been a little finicky and just recently has required frequent reboots, so I’ve been looking for a connected alternative.
The first task I faced was to upload my photo and video library from my NAS drive to Google Photos. Fortunately, Google provides a desktop app which makes the process easy once you have linked the application to your Google account.
Within the Google Photos desktop app, you simply select the folders you want to upload and then leave the service running on your desktop. The service then does the rest for you by crawling through folders and sub-folders and uploading the files automatically.
You may be wondering how many photos and videos you can store online.
When you upload files, are you are given a choice of quality options; selecting the original quality option will use your existing Google storage allowance but selecting the high quality (which is slightly compressed) option will give you unlimited storage.
So far so good, but it was only after the uploads started that the nice surprises started.
As well as providing storage, Google also provides a number of automated tools to enhance your photos. As the upload of my photos continued I kept getting notifications from the Google Photos iPhone informing me of auto photo enhancements.
The auto enhancements take several forms, these are:
- Stylisation – where filters are added to the image.
- Collages – where related images are grouped together into an attractive collage
- Animations – where several photos taken moments apart are used to form a Harry Potter esk animation.
- Panoramas – where overlapping images are stitched together.
Google is a search engine at heart, and the built in search facility in Google Photos is incredibly good. Not only are the images automatically geo-tagged but Google also analyse the contents of each image to work out the content with surprisingly accurate results. This allows for auto categorisation, or enables you to search for specific images or themes, a function not previously available on my NAS.
Google Photos is a fantastic service and for me it has changed the way I work with and store images. It has made my photos and videos more accessible than ever.