Monday, July 22, 2019

Check your Google Photos Settings Now


Most people install Google Photos on their phone, accept the defaults, and never look at settings again. We think it's important to understand your settings, so how about taking a look right now?

Check your settings
Open the Google Photos app on your iPhone or Android device and tap the 3-line menu in the upper left. Notice the name and email address that shows up at the top of this screen, above the menu. That is the account being displayed. When you click on Photos, you are seeing the photos in that account.


Next choose Settings from that menu and then tap on Back up & Sync and check
  1. Backup account - should be the email address for your main Google account, usually it is the same account as the photos being displayed but it doesn't have to be. There are sometimes situations where you want to be viewing one account and backing up to another, but not normally
  2. Upload Size - should be High Quality if you want free unlimited storage
  3. Cellular Data Back up - should be OFF unless you have an unlimited data plan or you don't take very many photos, then you could turn it on at least for photos 
View your photo library on a computer
In addition to checking your settings, we want you to check that your photos have successfully been uploaded from your phone to the cloud - in your Google account. To do that, open Google Photos thru a browser on a computer at Photos.Google.com. Make sure you are signed in to the same account as in #1 above - you'll see the account in the upper right of your screen. You should be seeing all the same photos here as you see with the Google Photos app on your phone. The most recent are at the top. If they don't match your phone, either the backup has not completed or you're looking at a different account.
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Learn more with these short tutorial videos:

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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What's happening with Google drive and Google Photos?

Google has announced that they're changing how Google Photos and Google Drive are working together, When Google makes this change - planned for July 10 - there will no longer be a direct relationship - see the diagram at right. One thing to understand is that you may have never had the relationship to begin with because it depended on your turning on a setting.

The settings that are being removed

If you never turned on these settings, then nothing is changing for you. You can check them now:
  1. In Google Photos, 3-line menu, Settings, Google Drive: Sync photos & videos from Google Drive
    is yours on? or off?
  2. In Google Drive, it's the gear icon in the upper right then Settings, Create a Google Photos folder.
    Is yours on? or off?
If you do have them on, then here's what will happen when Google removes them:
  1. The Google Photos folder in my drive will stop getting new photos from Google Photos. What's already in that folder will remain.
  2. New photos added to Google Drive will no longer show up in Google Photos. Any photos already in Google Photos will remain.

The implications of this change

If you depended on the Google Photos folder in Drive to sync your phone's photos down to your computer, you need to find an alternate way to do this. I recommend another cloud storage service such as Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Amazon Photos.
Before the breakup, it was possible to take pictures on a phone and have them synced to a computer.


If you depended on photos being in Drive so that 3d party programs could access them, they won't be there automatically. You will need to download photos from Google Photos to your computer, then you can upload them to Drive if needed. If you manually upload them to drive, they will take up your Google Drive storage allotment. If you lete Backup and Sync to the uploading, you can select the High Quality setting to access the unlimited storage feature.
If you regularly save images to Google Drive, you will be able to copy any of them to Google Photos with a new manual import tool. 

One more side effect from the breakup is that YouTube will lose its "Import your videos from Google Photos" feature, this is the only thing I will personally miss.

Other Articles

This is a hot topic right now and a lot of articles have been written about it. Many of them have wrong or misleading information in them and serve to prove the point that the relationship between Google Photos and Google Drive has been very confusing. One article besides the official announcement that I can recommend for further detail is PeggyK's article. She is a highly respected Product Expert for several Google products Her article includes what will happen on July 10 and how it will affect your Google Storage quota.

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.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Adding and Removing Photos from Albums

Album View in Google Photos
I take lots of photos. If I'm in a beautiful area I may take 1-2,000 in a month. I love them all and I don't want to delete any, (that's work) but I do want to be able to find and show just my best (that's fun.)
That's what Albums are for.

Develop your own Album "system."

When I'm browsing my photos and I see one that is particularly good, I want to add it to an appropriate album. We are traveling and taking pictures all the time, so I've developed a system where I make an album for each month. I name it starting with 4 digits for the year, then a dash and 2 digits for the month. That makes them easy to search. I start an album at the beginning of the month and add photos as I go. If I want to see my best photos from July 2018, I just search for 2018-07. I also make albums for specific events.

To add a photo to an album

  1. Open the photo on my phone
  2. Tap the 3-dot menu in the upper right
  3. Choose Add to Album
  4. Scroll down the list and tap the appropriate album (note: once you have a lot of albums, you may need to scroll a ways. Albums are in date order by the most recent photo in the album. Once you've added one photo, that album will show up at the top as a Recent album the next time.)

To remove a photo from an album

If you're looking at an album and you decide that a given photo or video does not belong there:
  1. Select or open the photo and tap the 3-dot menu in upper right
  2. Choose Remove from Album
  3.  When prompted to confirm, tap "Remove"
If you change your mind, you can always find that photo in your Google Photos library and add it back. 

Albums are our one organizing tool

Once you have your best photos in named albums, you can use the albums to share with friends. You can also create printed books from the album photos. I make albums primarily for myself, just so I can easily find my best photos from any given month or occasion. Unfortunately there is no way to sort albums yet. There is also no way to categorize albums, for example by work or travel. Hopefully these are features that will be added sometime. 
I just click on the Album tab in my Google Photos app and I can scroll to an album I want, or if I don't see it right away, I can search. As soon as you start typing a search term, the top Autocomplete suggestions will be albums, if you have any matches. Get familiar with the icon that signifies album:

To learn more, see Chapter 7 in Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos. Also try going to GeeksOnTour.com and use the search feature at the top right to search for albums. You will find a wealth of material there! Some is free, some is for members only.

If you've never used albums before - start now! 


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.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Photo Descriptions

Isn't it great when you're looking at old family photos and you find notes written on the back that describe what's in the photo? Did you know that you can do the same thing with Google Photos? 
When viewing photos on a computer, click the i to open the Info panel and you'll see a field called Description where you can write whatever you want. On a mobile device, just swipe up on the photo to reveal the info panel.

Watch this video to see how to view those descriptions. https://youtu.be/f1muGsJQ2Tc




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.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Google Photos is not a social network, or is it?

I recently read an article by Mike Elgan about how he plans to use a Google Photos album to keep in touch with friends and family instead of Facebook. He calls it How I replaced Facebook with Nicebook. "Nicebook" is the name he gave to his Photo album that he invites anyone to look at and comment on.

Interesting, but I don't think it's going to work.

You know I love Google Photos, and I definitely use albums to organize my photos. I make an album for every month as a matter of course. This allows me to easily browse thru my photos from any given time and remember where I was and what I was doing. I put links to these albums on a public blog page so anyone can see them if they like, but I do it for me. Really, does anyone else care about my pictures like I do?
I make an album for every month. To learn how I do this, watch episode 159 of our YouTube show

Google Photos is GREAT for sharing albums of trips and events

48 people followed our Italy album as it grew 
I share albums of special trips or events. In 2017, when we spent a month in Italy and Croatia, I invited anyone who reads my Facebook posts, or our Geeks on Tour newsletter, to "join" our photo album. For anyone who did that, two things happened: 
  1. They got notified any time we added new photos to the album, which was daily. This way they were following along, in almost real time.
  2. They could comment on any photo, or the album as a whole, and we could comment back. This provided a conversation with our followers.
Anyone can view the album and all the photos and videos contained in the album. Only if you have a Google account and are signed in can you "join" the album. Then it will show up in your Google Photos app in the Sharing section.
This month, Jim and I are headed off to Australia and then New Zealand and, once again, we will share the album in advance so anyone can follow along. It worked great in 2017 and I expect it to work great in 2019. We will be connected, photo by photo, with anyone who is interested. They can comment to us and we can comment back without involving any other social network besides our own photo album.

We do not allow collaboration on our shared albums

Realize that I am not talking about a group shared album. It's called "collaboration" when you set up an album where several people can contribute photos and videos to the album. This is great for weddings, or sports events, or group trips, where one person creates the album and invites the others in the group to add their photos as well. When you use this feature, you don't want just anyone to get hold of the link. If hundreds, or thousands of people have the link - they are all able to add their photos and videos. I've known people to test this, and it doesn't take long before you have some very undesirable content in the album. Then it becomes an unwelcome job to monitor the album and block the offending users.

Shared Albums vs Facebook


Shared Albums

Facebook
I see my shared album as a one-to-many communication tool, where the "one" is me and my photo album and the "many" is all the people who click the link to view it, and perhaps to join it.
Facebook is so much more than that. Facebook is many-to-many. I use Facebook because so many of my friends are there. In just a few minutes each day, I can catch up with my friends and see what is going on with them. I may not even post anything about myself. A shared album can't do that. Besides, how would I let people know about the shared album if it weren't for Facebook! That's where I post the link where all of my friends will see it. The shared album means I can post less on Facebook. An occasional photo will do, along with the link to the album for anyone who wants to see more.
I applaud Mike Elgan for thinking outside the box with Google Photos, and I joined his album so I can follow along. But I can't give up Facebook yet. What about 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 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.

Friday, November 23, 2018

How to use Depth Editor and Color Pop in Google Photos

I used the Color Pop feature to make our
Geeks on Tour coffee mug stand out.
Have you ever wished you could make a photo of a flower, or a person, really stand out - with the main subject in color and the rest in black and white?
Now you can!
It's called Color Pop, and it is a new feature from our friends at Google Photos. It was announced along with Live Albums on Google's product blog on October 9, 2018. At the time it was only available on the Pixel phone, but it has arrived on the iPhone now as well. 

Take a "Portrait" photo

The key to using the Depth Editor and the Color Pop features is to have a photo that was taken with the Portrait option on the camera. Check out this past article about Portrait mode as well as Lens Blur mode on the Pixel.
In case you don't know how to take a portrait-style photo, here's a video:

Depth Editor and Color Pop

Once you have a Portrait style photo, when you use the Edit button in Google Photos, you will see some new options. Color Pop is one of the filters you will see right away. Depth Editor is accessible with the Adjustments button. Here's a video that shows you all about it.



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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Are your cellphone photos backed up? Are you sure?

When you take some new photos, you will see them right away in the Google Photos app. That DOES NOT mean they’ve been backed up. Google Photos will show you photos in your camera roll on the device. At the top of your Google Photos library, you will see information about the progress of your backup.
It may say, “waiting for Wi-Fi to backup” – the default setting is to not allow Google Photos to backup using your cellular data. Your phone must be connected to Wi-Fi then. So, connect your phone to Wi-Fi, then open Google Photos again and look at the top to be sure that the backup is now in progress. Watch it and eventually you will see “Backup Complete”
I also recommend verifying that you know how to see the photos in your account by going to a computer and go to photos.google.com and log in with the same account – you will now see all the photos that are backed up.
Free Up Space: this is the command that – with one tap – will delete all the device copies of your photos after they are backed up to Google Photos. Mrs. Geek recommends not to use that command until after you have your photos copied to one more location. You want to make sure that you have at least 2 copies of your photos!

Tutorial Video - watch the first 8 minutes

In episode 154 of our What Does This Button Do? show, we teach about cell boosters, but we begin the show with a Google Photos tip where we demonstrate everything in this article.


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.