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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Quick Tip: View Google Photos Year at a Glance

I've heard people lamenting the fact that they never have enough time to organize all their photos. They want to see them grouped by year and month, Right now, they have them on their computer in all sorts of different folders they've created over the years. How can they start all over, clean up and just view them by date.

Google Photos is the answer. Upload your pictures to your Google Photos account (unlimited free storage forever) and they will automatically be viewable by date. While viewing your library of photos, you can pinch the screen on your phone or tablet and see them grouped by year, then month. No work at all on your part!

Here is a video clip from our weekly smartphone class that shows you what I mean ...


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, January 13, 2017

Quick Tip: Straighten Your Horizon with Google Photos Editing

To straighten a photo with a crooked horizon
  1. Open photo
  2. Tap pencil
  3. Tap 3d tool, crop and rotate
  4. Drag slider to change slant of photo, notice the grid that appears to help you
  5. Or use the Auto button to have it straightened for you



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, January 7, 2017

Pictures of My Feet

I like taking pictures of beautiful scenery as much as the next person, but I also like taking pictures of my feet. Yep, I take a lot of pictures! 

This morning as I was sprawled on the couch with my cup of coffee reading my latest Kindle book ("Buffering" by Hannah Hart) I looked down toward my feet and noticed the beautiful morning light coming in through the window with the palm fronds swaying outside, and I just had to take a picture. 

Since I'm reading the Kindle book on my phone, I didn't even have to move. I just switched from the Kindle app to the camera app and snapped the shot.

Looking at the picture made me think of other times that I've put my feet in the shot. In the days before selfies, it could be the only way to put myself in the picture! I specifically remember a time (summer of 2000) when we were vacationing in Ireland and visiting the famous Cliffs of Moher. I sat down on the edge of the cliff and took a picture looking down. Can you hear Jim yelling at me from a distance? "You're crazy! Be Careful."

The only way I knew to get perspective in the photo was to include my feet in the shot. Gee, I wonder where I could find that photo?

Any ideas? 

How about I ask Google Photos to find me all photos of "feet"? I just pulled up the Google Photos app on my phone (still not moving from my comfy position on the couch), typed "feet" into the search box and tapped Done. It came up with lots of photos - some of which had nothing to do with feet - but there, towards the bottom, were these two shots: 



And, here's a sampling of the other photos that came up in the search results:

How about you? If you use Google Photos to search your collection of pictures what interesting finds do you get?

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Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mrs. Geek’s Year End Photo Tasks

albumsI count on Google Photos to keep ALL my photos together, in one place with no effort on my part. Once I’ve installed the Google Photos app on my mobile devices, and the Desktop Uploader on my computers, I no longer need to manage my library of photos. No more worries.  I know that they are all there, online at photos.google.com in date order. And, if I’m looking for a particular person, place, thing, or event, Google’s search or automatic albums will probably show me what I want to see.

Monthly Albums

Google Photos keeps  my entire library of photos – 58,000 of them according to my Google Dashboard – but I want to be able to browse just those best pictures from each month. At the end of the year, I want to be able to see something like the image at right. Most of the work involved here is to select those best pictures and add them to a monthly album.

This is work I do all year long. For example, just yesterday I started my album for January 2017. It’s not something I do on the 1st of each month, it’s something I do when I take my first good picture of the month. With that picture open, I click the 3-dot menu at top right and “Add to Album.” I give the new album a name: 201701 January. Then, throughout the month, I keep adding my best pictures to that “official” monthly album. I may also make albums for special events, but I definitely have an album for each month.

At the end of the year, the work for my monthly albums should already be done, but now is the time to review and add/delete as I see fit.

Monthly Backups to Computer

I trust Google to keep my 58,000 photos safe, but I want to be doubly sure I have copies of my best, monthly pictures. To that end, I download each monthly album from Google Photos to a USB hard drive on my computer. That way, even if I’m not connected to the Internet, I know I have all my best pictures with me offline. Google Photos makes this easy, just open the desired album, click the 3-dot menu at upper right and Download all. This will create a .zip file on your drive – unzip it and you have your pictures.

I actually prefer using Picasa on my computer to perform this task. I open Picasa and use the File menu, Import from Google Photos. Then I can find the album in question and it downloads the pictures, and all captions so I can view them using Picasa – no unzipping required.

Yearly Album and Slideshow

At the end of the year, I have 12 albums with 1-200 photos each. That’s still a lot of pictures to view! I like to see my year at a glance, one album with 2-300 pictures. So, I select my best photos from the monthly albums and create an album named simply 2016. It’s pretty easy to do since I can start with the monthly albums, select the best of the best, click the + in the upper right and add to album – 2016.

YouTube makes it single-click easy to take that album and make a slideshow/movie out of it!

Getting the Year at a Glance Page

If you would like to have a year at a glance page like the one in my image above, I suppose I should tell you how I did that! There is no automatic way to do this – maybe someday Google will give us a shareable year at a glance, but for now it’s a manual process. I use Blogger, and Live Writer. You could use whatever tools you know that can create hyperlinks and images. You could even use Word, or Google Docs to create a document with the links to each month’s albums.

The links to each month are easy. Using Google Photos, open the January album, then click the share button imageand select “Get Link.” Copy that link and then use it to create a hyperlink out of the word January. Repeat for each month:

The thumbnail images are not so easy. I use Windows Snipping tool to grab a small image of the picture I want to represent the month, then paste it into my Blogger file using Live Writer. I’ll be happy to make a video about that if any of you use Blogger and Open Live Writer and  are interested. Leave a comment.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Getting a New Phone? Wait! Don’t Lose Your Pictures

Get your Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos!
Google Photos is the best way to store your entire library of photos in one place. If you do it right, you will never need to worry about losing your photos. Check out the latest video from the Google Photos team:



Before you Give Up Your Old Phone

Notice that I said IF YOU DO IT RIGHT, you will never need to  worry. So, what do I mean by doing it right? There are 2 things you must do before you give up (or wipe out) your old phone.
  1. Make sure your Photos have been backed up to your Google Account. Look at your Google Photos on your old phone. If you see an icon in the lower right corner of any of your thumbnails - either a circular arrow, or a cloud with a slash thru it – that means the photo has not been backed up. You are viewing the picture stored on your device.
    picsondevice
  2. Check the Google Account being used for the Back up & Sync setting. You may have forgotten that you set up your old phone with a Google account that you don’t use any more. To see what Google account is in use,
    1. Open your Google Photos app, tap the 3-line menu in upper left and then Settings
    2. The first item should say, “Back up & Sync: Backing up to myaccount@gmail.com
    3. Make a note of that email address – that is your Google account. You also need to know your password. If you need help with that, visit https://accounts.google.com.
The best way to check both issues at once is to use a computer, go to https://photos.google.com/ and sign in to the account you think stores your photos and see if they’re there! Your account shows in the upper right corner of the photos. If you see your photos then you know they’ve successfully made it to the cloud, AND you know you have the correct Google account username and password. You’re all set to use any device at hand and see all your photos.


Setting up your New Phone

If all the photos from your old phone were successfully backed up, and you know the account that was used, then setting up a new phone is a piece of cake!
  1. Get the Google Photos app from the App store (iOS) or the Play store (Android) and Install it.
  2. Verify that the correct Google account is being used
  3. Open the Google Photos app and see all your pictures!
Note: you will need Internet access, either with Wi-Fi or your cellular data. The pictures are not stored on the phone, they are stored online, so you need access to view them. However, as you view them, Google Photos builds a library of photo thumbnails in cache memory in your phone. After a while, you will be able to view much of your photos even without being connected.

Here is a 6 minute video that demonstrates all of the above.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Book Launch: Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos

The book is now available on Amazon and we are bundling it in a December Special on our website. We live streamed our Book Launch on Sunday, 12/18/16 at 2pm Eastern. Click here to watch.


Click The Book in the menu above for more information.

Continue your Education with Geeks on Tour by subscribing to our Newsletters!
Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She was one of the first WordPerfect Certified trainers in 1986; President of the International Computer Training Association in 1993; Author of the Beginner’s Guide to Picasa and the PicasaGeeks.com website. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Geeks Teach Google Photos at Central Florida Computer Society

Central Florida Computer Society, cfcs.org, meets at the Seminole county library just north of Orlando. This is not too far from the Thousand Trails RV park where we are members, so we used the meeting as an excuse to go RVing for the week.

Jim and Chris Guld, aka Mr. and Mrs. Geek outside their motorhome in Orlando, Florida

The CFCS group were joined by some members of CFGS, the Genealogical Society and they were really interested in learning about Google Photos. Everyone stayed well beyond our normal 1 1/2 hours, and we were able to demonstrate all aspects of our favorite program! 

  • How it can automatically gather your photos from phones, tablets, and computer hard drives
  • How to search for any picture, and explore what Google categorizes under people, places, and things
  • How fun it is to use the editing tools
  • How easy it is to create animations, collages, and movies
  • How to organize your photos into albums and then share them
Chris and Jim taking a selfie during their presentation to Central Florida Computer Society
We gave everyone a handout so they didn't need to take notes. You can get the handout here.
If you have a computer club, genealogy group, or photography group, check out our calendar and see if we'll be in your area at any time. Maybe we can teach you Google Photos too.

Meanwhile, thru the rest of December, we have a special deal for a printed copy of our brand new Mrs Geek's Guide to Google Photos AND our complete learning library on USB drive.

If you were in the audience, we'd really appreciate hearing about what you learned. Please leave a comment here!