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 She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the 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 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
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 She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the 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.

Google Photos can capture one frame from a live or motion photo

If you use the iPhone feature called Live photos or the Android motion photo, you know that you get a few seconds of video along with your photo. Now Google Photos allows you to see that video portion frame by frame and pick the best frame to be a new still photo.

Instead of taking burst shots of your grandson playing basketball, you can just take one shot - a motion shot - then pick the frame where the ball goes through the hoop!

This is great for photos of people where they may be caught blinking, and their eyes closed. You can find a frame from the video portion where all eyes are open.

This video starts by showing you how to take a live photo in iOS or motion photo in Samsung, then shows how to pick the desired frame:

Google Photos movie maker needs more features

I love the Google Photos movie maker, but it is missing some vital features.

What is Google Photos Movie Maker?

 If you take lots of photos and videos, you need better ways of combining, presenting and sharing them. Have you tried the movie feature in Google Photos? There is no easier way of making a movie out of your photos and video clips than using Google Photos Movie Maker capabilities. Sometimes Google Photos even makes a movie for you and gives it to you in the For You section. No work at all! Even when you make the movie yourself, it is drop-dead easy. On your mobile device, select the photos and videos you want included, tap the + button in upper right and choose movie, then you can save, or make a few edits.
Here's a video to show you how:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Google Photos and Manual Face-tagging

People love the fact that Google Photos groups photos together by faces in the People section. And, they hate it when it doesn't get the people right. Now you can fix this with the Edit People option.

This new feature is available on all 3 platforms: computer/web, Android, and iOS.

Every picture has an info panel. On the computer/web version you click the i for info and it opens up the panel to the right. On mobile, you just swipe up on the picture to reveal the info panel. 
One section of the info panel is the People or Pets that are found in the photo. In this photo it notice 2 people but not the third.