Monday, May 8, 2017

Google Photos Makes Mothers' Day Videos from Your PIctures

Google wants us to have more fun with our photos. That's why they give us a place to be the forever home for ALL your pictures. With Mother's Day coming up, they've given us a new toy! A Mother's Day movie made for you. All you have to do is:
  1. Go to Photos.Google.com/mothersday on any connected device - phone, tablet, or computer. 
  2. Click the button "Get Started"
  3. Select a Mother. You should be seeing all of the People in your Google Photos library, if not, see prerequisites below. Find the face of your mother and click it. Then click Next.
  4. Select Children. Click the face(s) of you and your siblings. Click Done.
  5. That's it! You'll see a message "Creating Movie: This will take a few minutes. When it's ready, it will show up in your Photos Assistant." If you like it, click Save.
Google Photos finds pictures with both you and your mom in the same picture, then strings them together along with music. Here's what it did for me:

Prerequisites 

In order for this to work you must be using Google Photos, be logged into your Google account, and have lots of pictures there. You must also have Face Groupings turned on. To check that, go to Google Photos and click the 3-line menu, then Settings. You should see an option for "Group Similar Faces" - make sure that is on. Once you turn it on, it can take a while to group the faces, be patient. If you don't see the option for grouping faces, you may be in a country where it is not supported.

Want More?

You can make additional Mother's Day movies by repeating the steps above. It doesn't have to be your mother. You can pick another mother (or even a father, or a teacher) as long as you have pictures of her and her kids in your photo library. You can even skip the 'Select a mother" part altogether and just use this to make movies of small groups of people. Select a Mother: click Skip. Select Children: select a few people who you expect to all be in some pictures together.

Want to Make Changes?

Google does all the work to create this movie, but if you want to change something, you can edit it just like a movie you created yourself. You can remove photos, you can add other photos, you can add video clips, you can rearrange them, and change the music. You need to be using Google Photos on a supported mobile device, then you open the movie and tap the pencil to edit it. What you see next will depend on whether you are using Android or iOS, but both of them allow you to make the changes mentioned above.

How to Give it to your Mother

The movie that is created is now a part of your Google Photos library. I like to upload mine to Youtube so it can be embedded on a web page - as I did above. You can also share it via email, Facebook, or other social media, but if you want something more solid, how about a digital photo frame? Most photo frames can display photos and videos from a USB 'thumb' drive. To get your movie to the thumb drive, plug it into a computer, then open the movie in Google photos, click the 3-dot menu and choose Download. Navigate to the drive letter for the thumb drive and Save.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Take Videos and Google Photos can make Movies

Do you ever use your smartphone to take videos?  ... on purpose? :-)
You should! These smartphone cameras are excellent video cameras. Just take 20 seconds of video occasionally and you’ll be glad you did. Then you can put together cool little movies with just a couple clicks using Google Photos. Your screen will look different during the movie making process in Android vs. iOS, but the steps below are the same:
  1. Select the photos and video clips you want included in your movie
  2. Click the + in the upper right and choose Movie
  3. Google Photos will automatically add music 
  4. That's it! If you see a Save button, tap that.
Here's one I just made of our travels from the west coast of California to Tennessee.


If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have tutorial videos on this.
** These tutorials are for the Android version of Google Photos. 
The iOS version is newer, using technology from Google's purchase of the video editing company called Fly Labs. I will make tutorials on that version soon, meanwhile you can watch this video from my fellow Google Photos Top Contributor:
Movie Maker is not available on the Web version, just on mobile devices. See the list of supported devices here.

If you have Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos, you will see movies covered in Chapter 10: Creations


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cool! One click on your Google Photo Takes you to Google Maps and Reviews


This is where we had dinner last night. Why? Because our motorhome broke down while traveling I-40 thru Arizona and we had to be towed to the nearest repair facility. We had very little choice in places to eat, and we thought this looked interesting!

I shared this picture with a friend and he said, "Oh, I have to see where that is and what the reviews are!" So, he started to Google for Roadkill Cafe. Or maybe he opened Google Maps and searched for it, I'm not sure.

Google Photos Info Panel includes a Map - a Google Map

I told him that he could go directly to the map location on Google Maps by clicking the little i on the picture itself (or tap it on a mobile device.) That opens an information panel, including a map.
Just click the marker on the map 
If you click the marker on the map, you will be taken to Google Maps for that location and you can find out anything you want to know about the Roadkill Cafe and OK Saloon! My friend, Martin Brossman, is a Google Local Guide himself and he was astonished to find that the Roadkill Cafe had 177 reviews! You can even use the map to navigate to the location if you're using a smartphone.


Are Your Photos GeoTagged?

If you try this on one of your own photos and you don't get a map in the info panel, that means either:

  1. You took the photo with a regular camera with no GPS capability
  2. You took the photo with a smartphone but you had the geotagging capability turned off

Geeks on Tour Member Benefit

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, check out our eBook on smartphone photography. Instructions for turning on the geotagging feature is on page 17.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, April 7, 2017

How Many Photos are in your Google Photos Account?

Have you ever wondered what the count is of all your photos in your Google Photos account? I have a ton of photos going back to my first digital photos in 1999 - and even earlier by scanning old photos. Nearly every photo from my life is accessible thru Google Photos. I say that I have 60,000 photos. How do I know that?

Google Account Dashboard 

I just typed in Google.com/dashboard into a chrome browser. It resolves to https://myaccount.google.com/dashboard, and I had to re-enter my account password before it would show me details.
There is LOTS of information here about your Google account. In fact, you have to scroll down quite a ways before you see the photo information, but it is there.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

It’s So Easy to Send Photos Using Google Photos

We’ve been parked in the Arizona desert for several days. I prefer the humidity and ocean views of my home state of Florida … BUT, the sunsets here are spectacular. The Arizona desert with it’s saguaro cactus, wide open vistas, and abrupt mountains are a photographer’s delight. I’ve snapped several hundred photos in just a few days.



 
 
Do you see that last photo? I remember thinking, "If I owned that camper, I would love to have this photo of it as a silhouette in the desert sunset!" Just then, the people in the trailer started out to take their dogs for a walk. Cool! I'll just walk over there and get their email.
 
Distances in the desert are deceiving! I had to walk for a while, changing my direction to head towards where they were going rather than where they were. If they noticed me, they might be a little freaked out that they were being stalked! But, eventually our paths intersected, and I assured them I was harmless.
 
I showed them the photo on my iPhone and they said yes, they'd like to have that. All I needed was their email and it was done. Here's how:
  1. Open the photo using Google Photos
  2. Tap the Share button
    Android iPhone
  3. tap Next - on iPhone only. This gives you the chance to select more photos before sending
  4. Type in their email address in the space provided, then tap Add Recipient (optional: you can add other people from your contact list)
  5. Optional: there is a field at the bottom of the screen where you can type a message
  6. Tap Send in the upper right.
That's it! The hardest part was the walk. Once I got there, I showed them the picture, tapped the share button, entered their email address and tapped send.

 

What They Receive

When they open their email, they will see something like this:
 
If all they wanted was to see the picture, they're done. If they want the picture for their own, they need to click on the button to "View Photo." This takes them to a Google Photos interface.

  • If they have a Google Photos account, it's one click on the "Save to Library" buttonand the picture (or pictures if I had shared more) is now in their Google Photos library.  
  • If they don't have a Google Photos account, they need to click on the photo to make it full screen, then tap the 3-dot menu and Download. 
 

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos.
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Deleting Bunches of Photos with Google Photos

Have you ever mistakenly taken lots of pictures of the inside of your pocket? or your thumb over the lens of your phone? Using Google Photos on your smartphone, it’s easy to select them all and delete. Just touch and hold on the first one and drag thru the rest of the group. You can select a few or even hundreds of photos this way. In fact, the only problem with it is that it is too easy! With one little slip of the finger, you can select hundreds when you only meant to select a few. It just takes a little practice to get just the ones you want.

When they are all selected, tap the trashcan icon to delete them. This will delete them from the device as well as from the cloud. The trashcan icon means, “these photos are garbage, delete them from everywhere.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Crop Pictures to Fill Wide Screens

It took me a while to notice that my new, wonderful, iPhone 7+ camera was not taking pictures that filled the screen. The iPhone’s screen’s width and height is known by it’s aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s nearly twice as wide as it is high. My computer screen is also 16:9, as is the most common display on YouTube, and newer TVs. So why does the iPhone camera only take pictures that are 4:3 – just a little bit wider than it is high?
image image
This is a 4:3 ratio photo displaying on a wide screen – 16:9. Notice the  black bars on either side? This photo is  widescreen format (16:9) so the picture gets the benefit of the whole screen.
My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S5) has a camera setting for this. You can choose for the camera to shoot in wide-screen resolution or not.
There may be plenty of reasons for this of which I am unaware. All I know is that I want my pictures to fill the screen. If I can’t take them that way, I can crop them after the fact.

Using Google Photos

You can easily use Google Photos editing tools to crop to the 16:9 ratio. That’s what I did in the photo example above. The one on the left was how the iPhone took the photo, on the right is my cropped version.
  • Open the photo with Google Photos and click the pencil icon to edit
  • Click the Crop/rotate icon
  • Click the image button to see the constraints for cropping
  • Choose 16:9


Want to learn more?

Join Geeks on Tour
or Buy the Google Photos book.