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Monday, April 20, 2020

Ten ways of using albums in Google Photos

If you're not making albums, you're not using the capabilities of Google Photos. It's by adding photos to albums that you can make your own groupings. Realize that Albums are NOT like folders, they do not store your photos. Photos are stored in one bucket, just called Google Photos. Any given photo can show up in one or more albums, they’re just marked to display in that album. If you delete a photo from Google Photos – it’s gone from the album. If you remove a photo from an album, it’s still in Google Photos. To make an album:
  • Select the photos you want in the album
  • Click/tap the + in the upper right corner
  • Choose Album
  • Give the album a name and click/tap the checkmark at top left
If you have pictures from your visit to New England to see lighthouses, you could have one album called New England vacation, that shows your travels along with lots of lighthouse pictures. If you have also been to many other locations to see lighthouses, you might want to make an album called lighthouses that spotlights your best lighthouse photos. One picture of the lighthouse on the cliff in Acadia can show up in both albums.

  1. Showcase your good photos and videos.
  2. Collect your special categories that you want to show in an instant. 
  3. Tell a story, complete with text blocks and maps. See our 2017 Italy album, or Geek's story
  4. Share groups of photos easily
  5. Collaborate with groups of people such as everyone on a trip
  6. Use for digital photo frames
  7. Use for making books
  8. Use for making movies
  9. Use for downloading backups
  10. Auto updating albums aka Live Albums. Think photo frame at Grandma's house auto adding photos of of grandkids
In this YouTube show we discuss these different options.




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 Product Expert 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, March 7, 2020

If I get free, unlimited storage, why is Google Photos telling me to buy storage for $1.99/mo?

It may look like Google is telling you to buy 100 GB for $1.99/mo, but what they're actually doing is just offering it to you.

If you choose the High Quality setting, you do get free unlimited storage, you don't need to buy anything.

High Quality means that Google stores up to 16 megapixel photos and 1080p videos with an extra compression to reduce the file size. My cameras all take photos less than 16 megapixels, so this is fine with me and I like the reduced file size. 

Your Google Storage Allotment

Google gives everyone 15GB of free storage space. Keep in mind that your Google storage is shared among Gmail, Google Drive, and Original quality Google Photos. You can see how much you are using by going to MyAccount.Google.com and be logged in with your Google account. 
You will see sections for privacy, security, and Account storage. In the account storage section, click the link to "Manage storage" and you will see your total allotment as well as the amount being used by Drive, Gmail, and Photos.

What is Google One? Think phone support.

If you choose to buy 100 GB for $1.99/month, you become a member of Google One. That is simply what Google has chosen to call it when you pay for storage rather than just using the free allotment. 

If you become a member of Google One, there are a few other benefits. You get support from Google, even for the free products like Google Photos. Think about that, for $2/month you get phone support. You can talk to a real human being. I've heard reports ranging from "solved my problem quickly" to "totally useless." But, that is the nature of phone support in general, right? I think it's pretty amazing to get phone support for $2/mo.

My Google Photos setting changed to Original

When you become a Google One member, Google apparently assumes you want to use that storage for your photos and the default selection for file size changes from High Quality to Original. It took me a while to realize this. I've always chosen to store my photos in High Quality. I am now paying $2/mo for the Google One membership, but my reason is to have access to phone support. I don't know how long I will continue the membership and I still want my photos to be stored for free with the High Quality setting. My current storage stats show that Google Photos is taking up 2.81 GB.

I found the culprit by checking my iPhone Google Photos settings. I had uninstalled and reinstalled the program, not noticing that the default size setting had changed to Original. I have now set it back to High Quality, but what about the photos that are already stored at High Quality?

Recover Storage

There is a button that will review all your stored photos and, retroactively, compress them to High Quality. It's called Recover Storage, and you'll find it on the Google Photos settings on the web version. Here is a video on how to use it.



Billed thru iTunes?

When someone showed me an email that iTunes was billing them for Google Photos storage, I thought it was a scam. Google storage would be billed thru Google. Since when was Apple doing Google's collections for them?!? But, apparently it is true. You can sign up for that $2mo 100 GB using your iPhone and your Apple ID.
If you think an email about an iTunes charge may be a scam, here is Apple's help for identifying legitimate emails from them.


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 Product Expert 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.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

How to add text with a solid background to a photo using Google Photos - 610

It was a long time in coming, but Google Photos now can add text right to a photo. At least, the Android version of Google Photos can do that. It's called the "Markup" tool and it's pretty simple.

Even if you know how to add text to photos with Google Photos, yuo should watch this short video because I add a very important little tip!

Notice how the words in the picture  have a dark background. That is SO important to allow the words to be readable. I've found a way to accomplish it with the new Google Photos markup tool.




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 Product Expert 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, February 8, 2020

Using Google Lens to identify items in a photo

When you open any photo in Google Photos, you will see a button at the bottom meant to look like a camera lens. That is Google Lens and it is amazing. Open any photo, using Google Photos, and tap that button - it will analyze the current photo and tell you all sorts of things! Identify flowers, birds, insects. Translate and copy text, scan QR codes, identify products and give you links to buy them. And much more.



Google Lens Examples

The following are photos in my Google Photos. When I tap on the lens button, it analyzes the photos and gives me remarkable results.



Lens will tell you the name of this Arch in Utah

Lens will identify these birds

Lens will translate this billboard

Lens can copy the text from this certificate, making it editable in a document
Lens can scan this business card and dial the phone number, send an email, or even add to your contacts

Lens can identify the type of this turtle.

Lens can identify this book and give you a link to buy it.

Lens can scan this QR code and give you the link to watch the video.

Lens will identify this product and give you links where you can buy it


Our YouTube show, episode 184, demonstrates how to use Google Lens





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 Product Expert 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, January 9, 2020

Google Photos: How to share photos with a link, and not get a 404 error

There are several ways to share photos using Google Photos.
  1. Direct sharing with other Google Photos users
  2. Mobile only: Share to ... an app (this copies photo(s) and opens them up in the designated app. 
  3. Copy Link

How to share with a link, and make sure it's the right link

When I need to share with someone who doesn't use Google Photos, I like to use the share with link technique. I copy the link from Google Photos, then I paste it wherever my recipient is sure to see it, an email addressed to them, a text message, a Facebook post etc. Anyone who has the link can see the picture(s) represented by that link.

As long as it's the right link! You need to follow the proper steps, not just grab a link with the right-click/copy link method, or copying from the address bar. If you do grab the link with either of those two generic methods it will start with Photos.Google.com/photo/.... That is a link to your photo library and only you will be able to see it. Anyone you send it to will just see a 404:that's an error. The correct link should start with photos.app.goo.gl/...
Here's how you get the right link:

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Google Photos updates in 2019: Faster, Better, Changes, and New Features

Google is changing and improving Google Photos all the time. Since the 2d edition of the book was published in June of 2018, I have been keeping a list of all the changes.

You are updating your Google Photos app aren't you? 

If you're not sure, here's a video on How to Update Google Photos.

Here are my picks for the most significant recent updates.

Monday, December 30, 2019

If you take pictures of receipts, you'll like the Crop Document feature in Google Photos

This is a relatively new feature in Google Photos (Oct 2018), and it's only available on the Android version. If you took a photo of a receipt, a business card, or a full page document, it looks better if you crop the background out, and adjust the skew of the photo.
  1. Open the photo and tap the edit button Edit
  2. Now tap the last button on the right, the 9-dot grid
  3. You should see "Crop Document" at the top, tap that
  4. Try tapping the "Auto" button at the bottom, it should crop to the edges of the document
  5. If auto didn't do enough, you can drag any of the 4 corners into position manually
  6. Tap Done, then 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 Product Expert 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.