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!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Try Searching your Photos

You may be very surprised at what Google Photos can deliver just by searching for whatever comes to mind.

On your phone, your tablet, or your computer bring up Google Photos and notice the search field at the top of the screen. Type anything in there, for example:
Birthdays
July 4
Dancing
Snowstorm in Minnesota
Fishing in California
Kayaking in Florida
Hugs
Cake

​Just type in whatever comes to mind, then touch Search on the device keyboard, or just press Enter on the computer. 

What did you get?

I love this one that came up when I searched for "Hugs"


Did you know that there is even a game, it's called Camera Roll, where you draw cards with words on them and it's your goal to find photos to go along with the words. Here's a few minutes in our Button Show where we demonstrate the game.


Give the gift of learning! 

December special: Geeks on Tour Learning Library on USB Drive PLUS our new book on Google Photos for $49. Click here for more details.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Google Photos is NOT a "Backup" of Your Photos

A Backup is an EXTRA copy kept in a safe place.
First, here's the definition of "Backup" that I use:
The procedure for making extra copies of data in case the original is lost or damaged.

Backup files are EXTRA copies. 

These extra files are stored in a safe place where they will not be touched unless you need them. 
When you use the Google Photos app on your phone or tablet, you turn on the setting called "Backup and Sync." I wish this was called "Upload and Sync" because it does not meet my definition of Backup.


Google Photos are Working Copies

With the Backup and Sync feature turned on, Google Photos will automatically upload  every photo you take with your phone to the cloud - in your specified Google account. This is great! If you drop your phone overboard, your photos are not lost! So far, it does sound like a backup.

But, after your photos are uploaded, you are encouraged to work with them there. You can edit, delete, create, and share your photos using the Google Photos copy. These are not extra copies - they are the working copy of your photos. If you delete these, they're gone, unless you have an extra copy somewhere.

You are also encouraged to "Free up Space" on your phone by deleting the photos from your phone. Now the Google Photos copy is your only copy!
See other article: Three Ways to Delete Photos with Google Photos


How to make a Backup of your Smartphone Photos

It is your responsibility to make a true backup of your photos. Google Photos, all by itself, is not doing that for you.

Automatic method: use another cloud storage service like Dropbox, or OneDrive, or Amazon Cloud. I use OneDrive. Just download the OneDrive app to your phone, go into settings, and turn on Camera Upload. That automatically uploads a copy of every photo to my Microsoft OneDrive account.

Since this is in addition to Google Photos, the OneDrive copy is an extra copy! A backup. I rarely touch these photos since I prefer to work with the Google Photos app. An extra benefit of OneDrive is that you can choose to also synchronize with your computer's hard drive, so your photos are automatically on your computer, available offline. Now you have 2 extra copies! It's starting to feel very safe now.
See other article: Getting your Photos Down From the Google Photos Cloud

Manual Backup: you can manually connect your phone to your computer and copy pictures to your hard drive. Use the charging cable that came with your computer. There is a USB connection on the end to plug into the computer. Then, follow the prompts on both your computer screen and the phone screen to establish the phone as a drive that your computer can see. Then use standard copy/paste functions to get the pictures from your phone to your computer.

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.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Top 7 Reasons to Love Google Photos

#7: It makes fun creations from your photos and videos. 

Sometimes it does it automatically without you even asking. Sometimes you want to make some yourself. This fireworks example is an animation. The movies even add music!


#6: It's so easy to share a picture, or lots of pictures. 

All you do is select the picture(s) tap the share button, and select the person(s) from your contacts. If you choose their email address, they will receive the photo in an email. If you choose their phone number, they will receive the text, if they use Google Photos, you can skip email or phone and send it directly to their Google Photos account. It will show up in their Google Photo's Assistant.

#5: You can edit your photos on the phone/tablet, or on the computer. 

Just one tap on "Auto" can make a world of difference. Want your picture to have more pizazz? Try the Pop button! You can straighten a crooked horizon by tapping the Crop/Rotate tool and drag a slider to change the angle of the photo. Any edits you make will synchronize to all your devices.

#4: You can make albums to show off your best photos. 

Just select the photos you want to include, tap the 3-dot menu and Add to Album. Once an album is made, you can edit it to re-organize the photos, add maps, and even add text blocks to fully tell your story.

#3: Auto Backup and Free Up Space

Cellphone photos will automatically backup to "the cloud" - your Google Account online. Once you verify they made the trip, you can remove them from the phone with one command - Free Up Space.

#2: Find the Photos you Want with Sort, Search and Automatic Albums

Google PHotos keeps your entire library of photos (over 50,000 for me) in order by date. A simple pinch on the screen and you see years and months grouped together. Looking for a particular picture? Try search. I can come up with that one photo of kayaking in La Jolla by searching for "Kayaking in La Jolla" !! There are also automatic groupings by Faces, Places, and Things. 

#1: Google Photos is a Forever Home for your Lifetime of Photos

The number one, best reason to use Google Photos is that it can collect your photos from many sources and store them in one place - your Google Account online - with unlimited storage, for free, forever! By uploading from my mobile devices, uploading from my computer and all external hard drives, I have a master collection of over 50,000 pictures. I can see all of them from any device I happen to have available. 
Just a sampling of my 56,000+ photos as seen with Google Photos on my phone.
Mrs. Geek's Guide to Learning Google Photosa


Continue your Education with Geeks on Tour! Become a member and get access to hundreds of tutorial videos and the new eBook: Mrs. Geek's Guide to Learning Google Photos.
Chris Guld (aka Mrs. Geek) is President and Teacher-in-Chief t 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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Want to be an Expert in Google Photos?

by Chris Guld
When Google Photos first came out, I knew I wanted to become expert in it. I specialize in helping people manage their digital photos. I have been using, and teaching, Picasa (Google’s free photo management software)  for over 10 years – and I loved it. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of other people were using Picasa and loving it because I taught them. But, the writing was on the wall that change was inevitable. Picasa was built for the world of digital cameras and computers – it only used the web occasionally, just for sharing your best photos. The world of photos is migrating to smartphones and web, no computer necessary.

Google doesn’t just see the future, they invent it! So when they announced Google Photos as a brand new product, re-engineered from scratch, to handle all our digital photo needs – I wanted in! I immediately started using it in May 2015. Then I jumped in on the user help forums. I wanted to become expert in this product and you can too. I started reading everything I could find, and then answering people’s questions in the forum. The more I answered, the more I learned!  If you answer a lot of questions, and do a good job, you get invited to join the Top Contributors program. You can also answer questions with the #GHelp hashtag in Twitter. See goo.gl/helponsocial



This is a volunteer program. People become Top Contributors because they have a passion for the product, and a passion for helping people learn. Google then gives us perks. The primary perk is recognition of our expert status. The next is open lines of communication to Google and our other product experts. I am on a team that includes people from the Philippines, Germany, Ghana, UK, and of course Mountain View, California – Google Headquarters.

Top Contributors Meetup

Every year Google recognizes it’s Top Contributors for all products and gives us the biggest perk – a trip to Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA for a meetup. Here are a few photos from the meetup I just attended.


The meetup started with happy hour in the hotel. The main event began the next day and I was thrilled to meet the community manager for the Google Photos Top Contributors, Ben. He's kind of our "handler," acting as liaison between us and the product development team. He communicates with us at least weekly, and sets up a monthly video call with all of us.

Google Photos wasn't the only product represented - there were Top Contributors for Google Hangouts, Google Voice, Google Blogger, Gmail, Calendar, Android, Nexus, Search, Maps, Youtube, and many more! We heard presentations from several "Googlers" - that's what you're called if you work for Google! And, I got to get definitive answers on some Blogger questions and Google Voice questions I had - yes, I am a geek!

They also facilitated several icebreaker activities, and of course meals. I think my favorite part was sitting with Googlers on the product development team for Google Photos - I had some questions of them, but they had even more questions for me! It was also wonderful to get to meet many of my team face-to-face. I not only have team members now, but also some new friends!



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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Three ways to Delete Photos with Google Photos

Losing precious photos is what we want to avoid! Google Photo’s primary purpose is to keep your photos backed up and safe, but if you don’t understand where they’re getting backed up and how delete works, you could still end up losing them! I have three important points for you:
  1. Be sure to verify that your photos are, in fact, backed up. Please check your account, on a computer, at photos.google.com to verify that your phone’s photos have successfully made it to your account online. Even if you trust the "all backed up" message, I still advise that you view your photos online to verify that you know the username and password for the account that is being used!
  2. Don’t use the trashcan icon unless you never want to see that photo again.
  3. If your goal is to make room on your phone by deleting pictures, use Google Photos "Free Up Space" command. Settings, Free Up Space.

Delete from All Sync’ed Devices with Trashcan icon

When you use the trashcan icon in Google Photos, you are saying this picture is garbage. You don’t want it anywhere. This will delete the selected picture(s) from the current location – the phone/tablet in your hand or the web (photos.google.com) if you’re using a computer. The trashcan will also delete the selected picture(s) from any sync’ed devices. A sync’ed device is a smartphone or tablet that has the Google Photos app with Backup and Sync turned on. A computer is not a sync’ed device – if you have these same pictures stored on a computer’s hard drive, they will not be affected.

Delete from Device Only by using the menu

If you want to remove some pictures from your phone, but leave them untouched on the photos.google.com website don’t use the trashcan! Instead:
  1. Select photos to remove
  2. Tap 3-dot menu
  3. Android: Delete Device Copy
  4. iPhone: Delete Device Original
If you don’t see an option to delete from device only, you may have selected photos that weren’t taken with that device and therefore do not exist to be deleted! That is also the explanation for the image at right where 15 pictures are selected, but only 6 device originals are among them.
On Apple devices, there is one more step. Whenever you delete a photo on an iPhone or iPad, it’s not actually deleted, it’s just moved to the Recently Deleted Album. So, those photos are still taking up space on your device. If you want to completely erase them, you need to go to the Apple Photos app, Albums, Recently Deleted, and erase them from there.

Delete all Backed Up Photos from the Device with One Command: Free Up Space

Google Photos keeps track of the photos that have successfully been backed up (uploaded to your Google Account.) Therefore, it can delete all the photos from your device with one command.
  1. Tap the 3-line menu
  2. Free Up Space
  3. It will report how many photos and videos are found and then you tap Remove

Androids with SD cards

If you are using an Android device with an SD card, odds are that Google Photos does not have permission to write to that SD card. (February 2017 update: the Android update to Nougat has fixed this for most people) That means, if you try to delete a photo using Google Photos, it can’t. You have to use the native gallery app to do that. Although this renders your SD card rather useless, I don’t see it as a huge problem. I set my camera to use the internal phone memory even though I have an SD card available. This memory will fill up fast, so I use Google Photos “Free Up Space” command often. Very few of my photos are actually stored on my phone, but Google Photos shows me all the photos in my account – all 50,000 of them – as if they were on the phone.

If you are a GeeksOnTour.com member, here are several tutorial videos on this subject:

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.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Google Photos Can't Add Text to Photos ... or Can It?

Just last week, Google released an update to the photo editing app called Snapseed. Snapseed is companion app to Google Photos, and with this update, it now has the ability to add text. Here are a few examples:



I LOVE it! Up until now, if I wanted text on a picture that is in my Google Photos, I either needed to go thru Google Drive (see this member video 434.Google Photos and Watermarks) or download the pictures to my computer and use Picasa, then re-upload the picture.
Now, I can just use Google Photos - meaning I have access to any of my 50,000 pictures over my lifetime - then use the 3-dot menu to "Edit in Snapseed." As you can see in the examples above, there are a lot of options on the text tool. When I'm done, it takes me back to Google Photos. If I'm using an Android device, I need to be sure the Snapseed device folder is being uploaded - on an iPhone/iPad that is not necessary.
We demonstrated this in our "What Does This Button Do?" show last week. Here is a direct link to the part where we show Snapseed.

Watch this video portion of our What Does this Button Do Show:

  1. Adding Text to a Photo with Google Photos & Snapseed

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

How to Get Started with Google Photos

When all your pictures are uploaded,
they will be automatically organized by Year and Month
If you have a smartphone and you take pictures with it, you should be using Google Photos. 
Using Google Photos means your photos will all be safely uploaded to your Google account in the "cloud" and you can delete them from the phone to free up space. Using the Google Photos app, you will be able to view all of the photos from the cloud. For example, I have stored all the digital photos I've ever taken, approximately 50,000 of them, in my Google account. Using the Google Photos app on any of my devices, I can see any of those 50,000 quickly and easily, even though none of them are actually on that device.

Getting Started on a Phone or Tablet 

The process is the same whether your device is Apple or Android. All you do is install the Google Photos app. Go to your App store or Play store, search for the free Google Photos app and get it. After it is installed, open it. The first few screens will guide you thru the setup. Pay attention to the Google account it is using, usually a gmail address, because this is where your photos and videos will be stored. 
Make sure that Backup and Sync is turned ON, then there are just 3 settings that are important: 
  1. Google Account: This is where your pictures will be stored, it is probably a gmail address, yourname@gmail.com It is very important that you know this address.
  2. Upload Size = High Quality
  3. Cellular data backup = No. 
These are the default settings and the ones we recommend. The "High Quality" means that your photos will be slightly compressed and Google will give you unlimited storage for free. Setting cellular backup to No means that you will need to connect your device to a Wi-Fi signal in order to upload your pictures. If you turn the setting to yes, your photos will be uploaded any time you have a cell signal, but you may incur data charges.
That's it! Now connect to a WiFi signal and just wait while your photos upload.

iPhone/iPad special issue: What about your iCloud settings? If you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, you should leave it on until all your photos are successfully uploaded to Google Photos, then you can turn it off to free up space. If you have plenty of space, you can use both iCloud and Google Photos - they perform essentially the same service.

Android special issue: On Android devices there are pictures in folders other than that used by the camera. Take a look at Menu->Device Folders and see if there are any folders that you want to be included in the Backup/Upload process. Tap the little cloud icon so it turns blue - this means the folder will be included.

Using Google Photos on a Computer 

There is no "Google Photos" App or Program for the computer. You simply open a browser (preferably Chrome) and visit Photos.Google.com. If you are logged into the same account as is being used by your mobile device, you will see all the same pictures.

Uploading Pictures from a Computer: The goal is to have your lifetime of photos stored in your Google account! You probably have lots of photos currently stored on your computer's hard drive and possibly other external hard drives. Let's get those!
You can go to Photos.Google.com and use the cloud icon to manually Upload pictures from your computer to your Google account. If you have lots of pictures on your computer in lots of different folders, it is much easier to use the AutoBackup feature. 
  1. Go to Photos.Google.com and make sure you are logged in to the proper Google account
  2. Click the 3-line menu and select the bottom option: App Downloads
  3. Download and install the Desktop Uploader
  4. Make sure it is using the same Google account
  5. See that it is uploading whatever folders contain your photos. To include more folders, including any attached external hard drives, click the Add Folder button.
    The Desktop Uploader can automatically upload
    all photos from your computer. You can even
    specify attached external hard drives.
  6. Realize that this upload procedure will not maintain your folder structure. It will grab all the photos out of their respective folders and upload them to your Google Photos Library. The library is a continuous stream of all photos in date order.
  7. Wait. This can take a while! For my 30-40,000 pictures it took about a week! Make sure you are not using a metered data Internet connection for this ... it could cost you big bucks!
Once it is done, you can see ALL your photos from any device! You can search by date, person, place or thing! It is SOO much fun!

If you are a Geeks on Tour premium member, here is a complete set of Tutorial Videos for Getting Started with Google Photos. If you're not a member, you can Join Now.


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, August 1, 2016

The Easy Way to Get Videos from your Phone to Youtube

youtube-importIf you use Google Photos on your phone, they’re already there! All you have to do is go to your Youtube channel and select the videos you want.
  1. Youtube.com and log in with the same Google Account you use for Photos
  2. Click the Upload button and you will then see the Import Videos card
  3. Click Import
  4. You should now be seeing all your videos that have been uploaded to your Google Photos account – usually that is the videos taken with your phone. Click any that you want to appear in your Youtube channel, then click the Select button in lower left
  5. Youtube needs to “process” your videos for the best playback experience. On this screen, you can add a custom Video name, description, and tags – but you don’t have to. Just click the blue Publish button in the upper right, and you’re done.
That’s it! The video that you took on your phone is now accessible with Youtube. Go Viral!!


imageChris 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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Google Photos Animations of Fireworks Photos

We hope you enjoyed the July 4 holiday as much as we did. But, that would be hard to do! July 4 is also our wedding anniversary - we call it inTERdependance day!

We took a water taxi ride to watch the fireworks in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a beautiful evening and I snapped lots of photos with my iPhone. Here is a sample of the many photos I took:

Later, when I looked in my Google Photos app, I noticed the little red marker on the Assistant that indicates something new is waiting for me. I opened it up, and here was an auto-created animation that Google Photos put together from my fireworks photos. It is amazing that this is all done for me. It is even more amazing how good it is! Notice the buildings in the photo - they don't move at all throughout the animation. I stood in the same spot to take the photos, but they were all handheld with my phone - I'm sure that I moved somewhat between shots.


To create the animation yourself, you just 
  1. select the photos you want in the animation
  2. Click (or tap) the + button
  3. Choose Animation
That's it!
Animations don't have to be action shots. You can also use them for slideshows. I used animation to create this quick slide show of an entire month of photos.

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, you can watch these tutorial videos. If you're not a member, Join Now!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ask Google Photos to Find a Photo with 2 Named People

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com
On our What Does This Button Do? show this past week (Episode 85) we demonstrated some search tricks with Google Photos. Slide the YouTube playhead to the 17 minute, 13 second mark to see the demos.

Step One: Automatic Face Groups

If you use Google Photos, you probably know that it automatically groups like faces together, but did you know that you can ask for pictures that have 2 particular people in the photo? I have 50,000 photos in my Google Photos library. With one search, I can instantly see just the photos with two named people in the photo.
Obviously there are lots of pictures of people in my 50,000 collection. With one click on Albums, then another on People, I see automatic Face Groups. Click on one face and I see all the pictures with just that face.
image

Step Two: Name the Face Groups

When you click on the face of any group, it opens up to display all the photos that include that face. You will also see a little note asking “Who's this? Add a private label to search by name” Just type a name in the space provided and click Done.

Step Three: Search for Two Names

Once the faces are named, you can now use Search. In the example above, clicking on Jim displays hundreds of photos with Jim’s face, clicking on Devon does the same with Devon’s face. But using Search for Jim and Devon, and the results are just dozens of photos with both Jim and Devon in the shot.
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Have Fun Searching!


imageChris 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, June 20, 2016

Google Photos: Getting Started on the Right Path


We help people started with Google Photos nearly every day! We decided to set it up as a class using online Webinar tools. This is for a very small group - limit 5 people. We will meet together for 2 sessions - 1 hour each, then each person will get one followup private session.
  • Session 1: 6/23/26 3pm Eastern time
  • Session 2: 6/30/16 3pm Eastern time
  • Follow Up session: determined privately with each participant
  • Limit: 5 participants
  • Price: $50 non-members, $25 GeeksOnTour members: get your discount coupon code here

  • Sign up using the Add To Cart link for the Photos Workshop Webinar on our Store page.

This will be an online webinar where all 5 participants will be live on the call and Chris and Jim from Geeks on Tour will be leading the group.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How Do I Send My Photos to a Friend?

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com
If you and your friend both use Google Photos, it is so easy to send them photos. You can send just one, or you can send hundreds of photos with one link, no need to break it up into small pieces, no need to attach to emails. There is also no need to use time and bandwidth to download and upload, because this process gets the pictures from your account in the cloud and transfers them directly to your friend's account in the cloud.
mycloud2yours
To send a group of photos to a friend, follow these steps:
  1. You can use a computer and Photos.Google.com, or a mobile device and the Google Photos App
  2. Select the photos you want to send. You can select large groups by first putting them in an album, then sharing the album. You can also select a large group of photos on a computer by selecting the first one, scrolling down to the last and hold the shift key as you click on it. You can then click to deselect any pictures that don't belong. On a mobile device, long-press on the first one and drag thru the rest.
  3. Click the share button and choose Get Link. A link has now been copied.
  4. You can now paste that link into an email that you send to your friend. You can also paste it into a text message, or a facebook post, or even a blog page.
  5. When your friend receives the link and clicks it, they will see all the pictures you shared. They don't need a Google Photos Account to see them, but if they do use Google Photos and are logged into their account, they will see a cloud button with a down arrow. When they click that, all the pictures they see will be added to their own Google Photos library.
That's it! You select and send. Your friend opens and saves.
If you are a GeeksOnTour.com premium member, you should watch the following videos from the Google Photos learning group:
  1. 435.Google Photos Selecting on Computer
  2. 436.Google Photos – Send Pictures to a Friend


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Google Photos–Is it Really Unlimited and Free?

Google Photos will store your entire library, many thousands of photos, for free!
Google Photos will store your entire 
library, many thousands of photos, for free!
YES!! If you choose the photo size called High Quality and not Original, Google Photos will store your entire photo library of many thousands of photos, for free. Learn more from the Google Photos Help page.

What is High Quality?

At the High Quality size, Google maintains your photos’ pixels up to 16 MegaPixels. That’s 4,000 X 4,000. That’s more than most digital cameras offer today. It’s big. So it sounds like it only reduces your photo if it’s more than 16 megapixels right? Well, not exactly. It does take your photo and compresses the file size while maintaining the same number of pixels. Your 12 megapixel photo will still be 12 megapixels, but where the .jpg file for the original photo may have been 3 MB (megabytes), the file that is uploaded is compressed to about half that.
If you take pictures for personal use, just select High Quality and don’t even think about it. It is truly high quality. That’s is big enough to completely fill your computer screen and be very sharp. I have printed 8X10 glossies of a picture using the original .jpg file and using the compressed ‘High Quality” file and I could not tell the difference.
If you are a professional photographer who may want your picture to grace the cover of a magazine, that’s another story. I’m sure you want your original. So keep the original somewhere, but you may still want to use Google Photos at the High Quality setting. The smaller files give you a faster experience when viewing, searching, uploading, downloading,and sharing than the full size.

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If I have Unlimited storage, why does it say I have 13 Gigabytes remaining?

Google gives everyone 15 Gigabytes of storage for free. This storage is shared by all your Google services; Gmail, Google Drive, Contacts, Photos, etc. So, Gmail and Drive may be taking up 2 Gigabytes, for example, bringing your quota down to 13. Photos uploaded using Google Photos at High Quality do not count. So, if you uploaded even 20 Gigabytes of photos, you would still have 13 GB of your quota left.
If you upload photos using Google Drive, they will count against your quota. It’s only when you upload using the Google Photos Backup and Sync, with setting at High Quality, that they don’t count.

What about Pictures I already uploaded at Original Size?

Google now gives you a way to retroactively set past uploads to the High Quality and thus recover the storage space used up on your quota. Using a computer, go to Photos.Google.com, click on the 3 line menu and then Settings. You’ll see an option to Recover Storage. Click that and any already uploaded pictures will be compressed.
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Does Uploading Pictures with Picasa use the High Quality Setting?

No. Picasa still uses an old standard size called “Best for Sharing.” This is defined as 2048 pixels on the longest side. To put it in the same terms, let’s say a picture is 2048X2048 – that would be just over 4 MegaPixels – or 1/4 the size of the new “High Quality.”
Here’s what you do: Use Picasa to upload photos at the Original Size option. This will count against your storage quota from Google, but you can later use the option to Recover Storage and retroactively compress those files.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Using Picasa and Google Photos Together

imageby Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

This is what I do now: All my photos collect in the cloud with Google Photos, I make albums of my best photos there, then I download those albums to my computer so I have them in Picasa for safekeeping, collages, text on photos etc. Picasa can Upload to Google Photos, creating an album of photos online. Picasa can also download Albums from Google photos online, creating folders of pictures on your computer that can even synchronize with the cloud.

To upload from Picasa on your computer to Google Photos

  1. Select the photos you want to upload. You’ll see them in the selection tray in the lower left.
  2. Click the Green “Upload to Google Photos” button, log in to your Google account if necessary
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  3. Select an existing Album, or click the New button and enter a new album name
  4. Choose a size: Original or Best for Sharing
    We recommend Original – this will count against your storage allotment, but you can recover that space later. Selecting Best for Sharing will reduce the resolution of your photos to 2048 px.
  5. Click Upload

To Download from Google Photos to your Computer and Picasa

  1. Click the File menu and Import from Google Photos
  2. Selecting “Import All Albums” will do just that, or clicking on “Import Selected Albums” allows you to specify
  3. These downloaded albums will create folders on your hard drive under the Pictures folder. They will show up in Picasa in the “Web Albums” collection below Folders
  4. In addition to downloading your photos to a folder, you can click the “Sync to Web” button so that any new photos added to the album will be added to the computer. So, you can make a collage using Picasa, then add that collage to the Synced folder and it will be uploaded to
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A major advantage to this method of downloading is that captions are preserved! If you added descriptions using Google Photos – those descriptions show up as captions in Picasa. This is not true when you use Google Photos download command. There is also one drawback to this method – Picasa will only download pictures that are not already on your computer. So, if some of these pictures in the Google Photos album started out on your computer, then the album download will create a folder that is missing those pictures. You can avoid this either by always uploading to the cloud first, and just downloading albums. Or, by using folder manager to limit what Picasa is seeing from your computer – fooling it, if you will, into not knowing that those photos already exist.

I use this method all the time to incorporate Picasa into my photo workflow. I gather all my pictures in the cloud with Google Photos – thousands of them – then I download just the best, the ones in albums.

For Geeks on Tour Premium Members

Here are some tutorial videos related to this subject. If you’re not a member, you can join here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Photo Albums Using Google Photos

I have roughly 50,000 photos collected online using Google Photos.

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Wanna watch my slideshow? I’ll bet not! You’d need a few days of uninterrupted time, and several buckets of popcorn!

No, I want to select just my best pictures and put them in Albums. Then I’ll share my Albums with you.

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How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Mobile Device

I do still use a computer, but more and more, it’s my phone that I use to view pictures. It’s nice that I don’t have to use a computer in order to organize my photos into albums. It also doesn’t matter if I use my Samsung Galaxy phone, my iPhone, or my iPad. All of these devices can run the Google Photos app, and they’ll all be looking at my same library of photos.

  1. Select one or more pictures: LongPress on one picture and it will be selected and open up a selection ‘button’ for all your other pictures. Any further pictures you tap on will be added to the selection. You can also select a group all at once by long-pressing on the first and drag thru the rest of the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right. This opens up your options to create a new Album (or Movie, Animation, Collage) or Add to an Existing one. You need to scroll down to see the Existing Albums.
  3. If you choose Create New Album – you will be prompted for an Album Name. If you do nothing here, it will be named “Untitled”
  4. Done!

If you make an album by accident, you can delete it by tapping on the 3-dot menu in upper right and choose Delete Album. Note that the album needs to be selected first.

How to Make Albums using Google Photos on a Computer

Realize when you’re viewing your Google Photos on a computer (photos.google.com) you’re looking at the same 50,000 pictures as you are when you use a phone. Any albums you create using the phone will be viewable using the computer – and vice versa.

  1. Select one or more pictures. When you hover your mouse over a photo, you will see a selection button (round checkmark) appear in the upper left corner – click that to select one photo. Click the select button on further photos to add to the selection. You will see a count of how many photos are selected in the blue bar that appears at the top of your screen. To select a group of photos use the standard procedure of clicking on the first picture, then holding the shift key down when you click on the last picture in the group.
  2. Tap the + in the upper right of screen and select Album (as opposed to Shared, Animation, or Collage)
  3. Next you have the option to make a New album or add to Existing
  4. If you chose New – you will be prompted for an Album name
  5. Done

If you upload photos from your computer to Google Photos, you will have the option to add all photos just uploaded to an album. See this demo we did in Episode 77 of our “What Does This Button Do?” on uploading from computer directly to an album.

How to Make a Google Photos Album using Picasa

If you’re accustomed to using Picasa to make your Web Albums – nothing has changed.

  1. Select the photos you want to upload to an Album
  2. Click the Green Button at the bottom “Upload to Google Photos”
  3. Choose an existing album from the drop-down list, or Click New to make a new album and give it a name.
  4. For size – we recommend the “Original Size” setting. This will initially count against your Google storage allotment rather than free, but you can use the “Recover Storage” feature later to convert the photos to “High Quality.”

So there you have it! The best of both worlds. All 50,000 photos stored safely, for your eyes only, in your Google Account. And, the best photos available in albums so you don’t have to go slogging thru all the riff-raff. If you want to share, use the share button on an album!

If you are a Premium Member of Geeks on Tour, here are some tutorial videos you should watch:

What Does This Button Do?

Geeks on Tour presents a Free Weekly Web Class all about learning to use smartphones and tablets. We have focused on Google Photos for several of these shows, each one is 40-60 minutes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Google Photos vs. Apple’s iCloud Photo Library

Apple-GoogleIf you use an iPhone, you are in the Apple world, and it seems logical to use the Apple photo solutions: Apple Photos and iCloud Photo Library. But, you also have the option to use the Google solution called Google Photos.

Have you been getting frustrated with constant messages by Apple that your iPhone is FULL, or that you need to buy more iCloud space?  Or are you simply confused about how your iPhone works with iCloud and your Mac or PC computer? Then you owe it to yourself to take a look at Google Photos. And, if you have an Android device, Google Photos is the logical choice.

I am a Google fan-girl, and I use Google Photos for all my photos. I use an Android phone and Windows computer. I also have an iPad, an iPhone, and a Mac computer so that I can test how things work and be able to help people who use the Apple ecosystem. After using Google Photos for the year since it was released, and exploring the Apple iCloud system throughout that time, I think I’ve come up with the fundamental differences. First let me tell you how they are alike, and a little about how they work.

The Common Purpose

Both Google Photos and Apple’s iCloud Photo Library (different from Photo Stream) will store all of your photos online (aka “in the Cloud”) and allow you to view them all using a mobile device or computer. Both of them will automatically upload photos taken by your phone (or tablet) to your account online. Once all your photos are collected online, you can view them by going to a website (photos.google.com or iCloud.com) or using an App on your mobile device. Both Apple’s App and Google’s App are called “Photos.”

But that’s where the similarities end.

The Fundamental Differences

  1. Devices Supported:
    Apple’s iCloud supports iOS, Mac, and PC, but not Android.
    Google Photos supports iOS, Mac, PC, and Android. So, if you have an Android device that you use to take pictures, Apple’s iCloud solution is off the table.
  2. Deleting Photos from Device:
    Apple’s iCloud Photo Library cannot delete from device. If you delete a photo from any device using iCloud Photo Library it is deleted from every other device. There is one exception – if you have installed iCloud Photo Library on your Windows computer, it will receive all new photos added, but will not remove photos deleted from elsewhere. In other words, there is no “Sync’ing” with iCloud photos on Windows after the initial download of the photos.
    Google Photos allows you to delete photos from the mobile device that took the picture, while leaving the photo available in the Cloud.
  3. Basic Cloud Philosophy:
    Apple: Apple uses the Cloud as a service to keep devices in sync. You can see the photos by going to iCloud.com, but you can’t do anything with them there.
    Google: Google uses the Cloud as the end game. It is where all our our photos collect and live forever. You can edit and create with them there.
  4. Original vs. Compressed File Size:
    Apple Apple uploads your original size photo and allows you to shrink the copy left on your phone.
    Google Google allows you to shrink the photo that is uploaded and leaves the copy on your phone untouched. You can then delete the phone copy to free up space.
    I prefer Google’s method since it takes less bandwidth to upload smaller photos online. It also means that your web photos will be faster to view and use. Google’s compressed size is called “High Quality” and it maintains up to 16 Megapixels of photo quality while compressing the file size by about half. These are plenty good enough quality for family memories, you can print a good 8X10. If I really want to keep the original, I can use another method to copy my original photos. Either another cloud service like OneDrive, DropBox, or Amazon, or use a USB cable and copy the photos to my computer.
  5. Cost:
    Apple gives you 5GB of free iCloud storage space. That fills up quickly with full size photos. For only $1/mo you can purchase 50GB more. That is certainly cheap enough – I don’t mind pay the $1, what I mind is having to pay attention!
    Google gives you unlimited Free storage for photos IF you use the “High Quality” size discussed in #4 above. The High Quality unlimited free option is our recommendation. If you choose to upload your original quality photos, they will count against your 15GB of free Google storage. To buy more, is $1.99/mo for 100GB.
  6. Sync with Computer
    Apple iCloud
    sees your Mac computer as another sync’ed device as long as you have iCloud Photo Library turned on. Add a photo from any device and it adds to every other one, delete a photo from any device and it deletes from all. The Photos App has a version that runs on the Mac - so your Mac computer is like a mobile device in the way Photos works. You can, however specify original sized photos to be used on the Mac. Windows computers have a version of iCloud Photo Library which will download the pictures, but there is no Windows version of the Photos app, so there is no synchronizing.
    Google Photos only sees computers as a source of photos, computers are not sync’ed devices. You can upload photos from a Computer to the Google Photos library in the Cloud, but the connection ends there. Deleting from the library or from the computer will not delete from the other. Editing a photo on either side will not update to the other. You can also download photos from your online library to your computer. If you use Picasa on your computer, you can download Albums from Google Photos, you can also use Picasa’s Sync tool to keep them synchronized.

Moving to Google Photos

If you agree with me that Google is the better option, the next question is: How do I get my pictures from Apple’s iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos? You can Install the Google Photos App on your iPhone or iPad and turn on Backup and Sync. Assuming you have iCloud Photo Library turned on, this will upload your complete iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos. It starts with your earliest photos and works its way to the present. In my test it was able to upload 400-500 photos per hour. Of course, your mileage may vary especially depending on your Internet connection speed!

I question, however, if using your mobile device is the best way. If you have your iCloud Photo Library set to “Optimize iPhone Storage” then you might be letting Google Photos upload reduced size photo files. And Google Photos is adding its own compression as well. When I experimented with this procedure, the photos did not seem to be extra small. They looked fine. Some were 600K, but some were 2MB. I have no way to definitively know what is happening here. But, if you can, it would be better to upload from a Mac’s Photo Library where the iCloud setting is for Original size rather than optimized.

If you are a Geeks On Tour member, we have a full series of tutorial videos on Google Photos. Here are the videos for just getting started. Notice that there are a few labeled *Free, meaning you don’t need a membership to watch them.