Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Google Photos: Don't assume your photos are getting backed up

  • It is Google Photos' job to back up your device's photos to your Google Account online
  • It's your job to verify that it gets done. 

There's nothing worse than thinking your photos are backed up, deleting them from your phone and then realizing they weren't backed up after all.
I'm currently traveling in Europe and taking hundreds of photos with my iPhone. I'm constantly checking that my photos are getting uploaded, and I'm not always happy with what I find. Whether it is a problem with the Google Photos app itself, or with the Internet connection, is hard to tell, but I often find that the backup process is stalled. Kind of like a clogged drainpipe, the upload process needs to be cleared and restarted. Using one or more of the following techniques, I have successfully ensured that all my photos got backed up / uploaded.

First Check your Assistant

You will see a message about the status of backing up. Something like "Backing up Photos: 321 items left" You will also see a progress bar that fills in blue from left to right. If you check this several times over the period of a day and see the same number left, then it's gotten stuck. It is not properly uploading your photos to your online account as it is supposed to do.
You may also see messages like "waiting for WiFi" or "Backup and Sync is Off." These messages are very useful.

Check Photos.Google.com

Even if your assistant indicates that your backup is complete, I need to see for myself. Sometimes the assistant reports that all is complete, then a few minutes later it has more to backup?! The only way to know for sure that your photos have successfully made it to your Google account online is to use a computer (or any device other than the one that took the pictures) and see your photo library there. 
  • Using a computer browser, preferably Chrome, go to www.Photos.Google.com 
  • Make sure you are signed in to the same Google account used by your phone that took the photos. You can find that account address on your phone by going to Google Photos settings, Backup & Sync. The backup account will be listed there.
  • Look at your Photos library, check that the topmost photo is the most recent photo you took with the phone in question. Spot check previous photos
  • If your backup is not complete, read through the rest of this article for things to do to get the backup kick-started.

Your Internet Connection

First check your Google Photos settings under Backup and Sync. If "Use cellular data to back up ..." is off, then you must have a WiFi connection before any backup will happen. Even if your phone indicates that it has a good connection, you still need to test it by opening a browser window and visiting some website that would not be in your cache history. This is the only way to know for sure that your Internet connection is working well.

  • Open Chrome or Safari
  • Type in a website that you don't normally visit (I use msn.com or aol.com because they're short to type)
    • If the website comes up quickly, you're all set. Go on to Google Photos
    • If you see a log in screen, then you need to complete that process for the WiFi hotspot you're on, or find another WiFi hotspot
    • If the website just doesn't come up, or comes up very slowly then you know you have a very poor Internet connection and you'll just have to wait for later to get your photos backed up
  • Try resetting your Internet connection.
    • Turn on Airplane mode to disconnect from all communications
    • Turn Airplane mode back off - this forces your phone to re-connect and it usually gets a better connection. If not ...
    • Power off and Restart your phone
  • Find a better signal or WiFi connection. Just because you are connected, doesn't mean it's good enough to upload photos. Internet connections have 2 separate speeds: download and upload. Browsing the web uses the download capabilities, uploading photos needs the upload. I've found lots of Internet connections where the download is good, but the upload is not.

Google Photos App

If you know that your Internet connection is good, then there must be some problem with the operation of the Google Photos app. Things to try: 

  • Open the app, and leave it open, with the phone screen on and awake. On iPhone especially, the upload cannot take place in the background. This is quite annoying, but true. Even on Android, I find it is important to have the Google Photos app open for the upload to complete.
  • Force quit the app and re-open it. By "force-quit" I mean to open your recent apps screen on your phone (iPhone: double-tap the home button, Android: tap the multi-tasking button next to the home button) and tap the X on the Google Photos app, or swipe the app off the screen. Now, when you re-open the Google Photos app, it is forced to start fresh. See if it has started backing up now by checking your assistant. You may have to wait a minute or two.
  • Manually backup some photos/videos: try finding a photo that has not been backed up yet. Your assistant may report that some photos were skipped, open one of those skipped photos.

     On iOS a photo that is still waiting to be backed up has a circular arrow icon. Select it, tap the 3-dot menu then Back up. If that operation completes successfully, check your assistant to see if backup has resumed. If not ...
  • Power off and restart your device.
  • If your remaining photos are still not backing up, try uninstalling the Google Photos app and then re-installing it. This will have no effect on your photos, Google Photos does not store your photos in the app itself. They are stored online.

Google Photos Help

Here is the official Google Photos help page all about Backup and Sync.

Make a Second Backup before Deleting

Before I use the Free Up Space command to delete the photos from my phone, I want one more layer of protection. Since the Google Photos copy of my pictures is my working copy, I don't consider that a true backup (see previous article: Google Photos is not a "Backup" of your Photos. I use the OneDrive app for this purpose. Other possibilities are Amazon Photos, Dropbox, Facebook, or copying to a computer via a cable connection.

6/13/17 Additional Notes

After several frustrating days of taking hundreds of photos and not getting them backed up I have reached a couple of conclusions:

  1. A stalled backup is almost always due to poor Internet connection. It's the upload speed that counts here, so even though a connection may be good enough to read your email, it may not be good enough to upload your photos. You need to find a better connection.
  2. Google Photos has some problem with iPhone Live Photos. When it comes to Live Photos, it stalls the backup process until you force it. You gotta watch it constantly and be ready to force quit the app and restart. At least that's the way I did it - it may also work to turn off Auto Backup then turn back on.

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.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Google Photos Makes Mothers' Day Videos from Your PIctures

Google wants us to have more fun with our photos. That's why they give us a place to be the forever home for ALL your pictures. With Mother's Day coming up, they've given us a new toy! A Mother's Day movie made for you. All you have to do is:
  1. Go to Photos.Google.com/mothersday on any connected device - phone, tablet, or computer. 
  2. Click the button "Get Started"
  3. Select a Mother. You should be seeing all of the People in your Google Photos library, if not, see prerequisites below. Find the face of your mother and click it. Then click Next.
  4. Select Children. Click the face(s) of you and your siblings. Click Done.
  5. That's it! You'll see a message "Creating Movie: This will take a few minutes. When it's ready, it will show up in your Photos Assistant." If you like it, click Save.
Google Photos finds pictures with both you and your mom in the same picture, then strings them together along with music. Here's what it did for me:

Prerequisites 

In order for this to work you must be using Google Photos, be logged into your Google account, and have lots of pictures there. You must also have Face Groupings turned on. To check that, go to Google Photos and click the 3-line menu, then Settings. You should see an option for "Group Similar Faces" - make sure that is on. Once you turn it on, it can take a while to group the faces, be patient. If you don't see the option for grouping faces, you may be in a country where it is not supported.

Want More?

You can make additional Mother's Day movies by repeating the steps above. It doesn't have to be your mother. You can pick another mother (or even a father, or a teacher) as long as you have pictures of her and her kids in your photo library. You can even skip the 'Select a mother" part altogether and just use this to make movies of small groups of people. Select a Mother: click Skip. Select Children: select a few people who you expect to all be in some pictures together.

Want to Make Changes?

Google does all the work to create this movie, but if you want to change something, you can edit it just like a movie you created yourself. You can remove photos, you can add other photos, you can add video clips, you can rearrange them, and change the music. You need to be using Google Photos on a supported mobile device, then you open the movie and tap the pencil to edit it. What you see next will depend on whether you are using Android or iOS, but both of them allow you to make the changes mentioned above.

How to Give it to your Mother

The movie that is created is now a part of your Google Photos library. I like to upload mine to Youtube so it can be embedded on a web page - as I did above. You can also share it via email, Facebook, or other social media, but if you want something more solid, how about a digital photo frame? Most photo frames can display photos and videos from a USB 'thumb' drive. To get your movie to the thumb drive, plug it into a computer, then open the movie in Google photos, click the 3-dot menu and choose Download. Navigate to the drive letter for the thumb drive and Save.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a 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.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Take Videos and Google Photos can make Movies

Do you ever use your smartphone to take videos?  ... on purpose? :-)
You should! These smartphone cameras are excellent video cameras. Just take 20 seconds of video occasionally and you’ll be glad you did. Then you can put together cool little movies with just a couple clicks using Google Photos. Your screen will look different during the movie making process in Android vs. iOS, but the steps below are the same:
  1. Select the photos and video clips you want included in your movie
  2. Click the + in the upper right and choose Movie
  3. Google Photos will automatically add music 
  4. That's it! If you see a Save button, tap that.
Here's one I just made of our travels from the west coast of California to Tennessee.


If you are a Geeks on Tour member, we have tutorial videos on this.
** These tutorials are for the Android version of Google Photos. 
The iOS version is newer, using technology from Google's purchase of the video editing company called Fly Labs. I will make tutorials on that version soon, meanwhile you can watch this video from my fellow Google Photos Top Contributor:
Movie Maker is not available on the Web version, just on mobile devices. See the list of supported devices here.

If you have Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos, you will see movies covered in Chapter 10: Creations


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, April 14, 2017

Cool! One click on your Google Photo Takes you to Google Maps and Reviews


This is where we had dinner last night. Why? Because our motorhome broke down while traveling I-40 thru Arizona and we had to be towed to the nearest repair facility. We had very little choice in places to eat, and we thought this looked interesting!

I shared this picture with a friend and he said, "Oh, I have to see where that is and what the reviews are!" So, he started to Google for Roadkill Cafe. Or maybe he opened Google Maps and searched for it, I'm not sure.

Google Photos Info Panel includes a Map - a Google Map

I told him that he could go directly to the map location on Google Maps by clicking the little i on the picture itself (or tap it on a mobile device.) That opens an information panel, including a map.
Just click the marker on the map 
If you click the marker on the map, you will be taken to Google Maps for that location and you can find out anything you want to know about the Roadkill Cafe and OK Saloon! My friend, Martin Brossman, is a Google Local Guide himself and he was astonished to find that the Roadkill Cafe had 177 reviews! You can even use the map to navigate to the location if you're using a smartphone.


Are Your Photos GeoTagged?

If you try this on one of your own photos and you don't get a map in the info panel, that means either:

  1. You took the photo with a regular camera with no GPS capability
  2. You took the photo with a smartphone but you had the geotagging capability turned off

Geeks on Tour Member Benefit

If you are a Geeks on Tour member, check out our eBook on smartphone photography. Instructions for turning on the geotagging feature is on page 17.


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, April 7, 2017

How Many Photos are in your Google Photos Account?

Have you ever wondered what the count is of all your photos in your Google Photos account? I have a ton of photos going back to my first digital photos in 1999 - and even earlier by scanning old photos. Nearly every photo from my life is accessible thru Google Photos. I say that I have 60,000 photos. How do I know that?

Google Account Dashboard 

I just typed in Google.com/dashboard into a chrome browser. It resolves to https://myaccount.google.com/dashboard, and I had to re-enter my account password before it would show me details.
There is LOTS of information here about your Google account. In fact, you have to scroll down quite a ways before you see the photo information, but it is there.


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, April 1, 2017

It’s So Easy to Send Photos Using Google Photos

We’ve been parked in the Arizona desert for several days. I prefer the humidity and ocean views of my home state of Florida … BUT, the sunsets here are spectacular. The Arizona desert with it’s saguaro cactus, wide open vistas, and abrupt mountains are a photographer’s delight. I’ve snapped several hundred photos in just a few days.



 
 
Do you see that last photo? I remember thinking, "If I owned that camper, I would love to have this photo of it as a silhouette in the desert sunset!" Just then, the people in the trailer started out to take their dogs for a walk. Cool! I'll just walk over there and get their email.
 
Distances in the desert are deceiving! I had to walk for a while, changing my direction to head towards where they were going rather than where they were. If they noticed me, they might be a little freaked out that they were being stalked! But, eventually our paths intersected, and I assured them I was harmless.
 
I showed them the photo on my iPhone and they said yes, they'd like to have that. All I needed was their email and it was done. Here's how:
  1. Open the photo using Google Photos
  2. Tap the Share button
    Android iPhone
  3. tap Next - on iPhone only. This gives you the chance to select more photos before sending
  4. Type in their email address in the space provided, then tap Add Recipient (optional: you can add other people from your contact list)
  5. Optional: there is a field at the bottom of the screen where you can type a message
  6. Tap Send in the upper right.
That's it! The hardest part was the walk. Once I got there, I showed them the picture, tapped the share button, entered their email address and tapped send.

 

What They Receive

When they open their email, they will see something like this:
 
If all they wanted was to see the picture, they're done. If they want the picture for their own, they need to click on the button to "View Photo." This takes them to a Google Photos interface.

  • If they have a Google Photos account, it's one click on the "Save to Library" buttonand the picture (or pictures if I had shared more) is now in their Google Photos library.  
  • If they don't have a Google Photos account, they need to click on the photo to make it full screen, then tap the 3-dot menu and Download. 
 

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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Deleting Bunches of Photos with Google Photos

Have you ever mistakenly taken lots of pictures of the inside of your pocket? or your thumb over the lens of your phone? Using Google Photos on your smartphone, it’s easy to select them all and delete. Just touch and hold on the first one and drag thru the rest of the group. You can select a few or even hundreds of photos this way. In fact, the only problem with it is that it is too easy! With one little slip of the finger, you can select hundreds when you only meant to select a few. It just takes a little practice to get just the ones you want.

When they are all selected, tap the trashcan icon to delete them. This will delete them from the device as well as from the cloud. The trashcan icon means, “these photos are garbage, delete them from everywhere.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Crop Pictures to Fill Wide Screens

It took me a while to notice that my new, wonderful, iPhone 7+ camera was not taking pictures that filled the screen. The iPhone’s screen’s width and height is known by it’s aspect ratio of 16:9. That’s nearly twice as wide as it is high. My computer screen is also 16:9, as is the most common display on YouTube, and newer TVs. So why does the iPhone camera only take pictures that are 4:3 – just a little bit wider than it is high?
image image
This is a 4:3 ratio photo displaying on a wide screen – 16:9. Notice the  black bars on either side? This photo is  widescreen format (16:9) so the picture gets the benefit of the whole screen.
My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S5) has a camera setting for this. You can choose for the camera to shoot in wide-screen resolution or not.
There may be plenty of reasons for this of which I am unaware. All I know is that I want my pictures to fill the screen. If I can’t take them that way, I can crop them after the fact.

Using Google Photos

You can easily use Google Photos editing tools to crop to the 16:9 ratio. That’s what I did in the photo example above. The one on the left was how the iPhone took the photo, on the right is my cropped version.
  • Open the photo with Google Photos and click the pencil icon to edit
  • Click the Crop/rotate icon
  • Click the image button to see the constraints for cropping
  • Choose 16:9


Want to learn more?

Join Geeks on Tour
or Buy the Google Photos book.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Make a Group Photo Album with Google Photos

imageWhen I got married, many years ago, we wanted to get everyone to take pictures and share them with us. We accomplished that by buying lots of disposable cameras and placing them on the tables around the room. We asked people to pick up any camera nearby and snap some photos. Then, at the end of the party, we collected all the cameras and had the film developed. Pretty ingenious don’t ya think? I don’t remember how we let all the guests see those pictures, lots of prints sent by mail I guess. Or, we just had to have them over later to look at our album.

Google Photos and Shared Albums

Today, I have several groups of people that like to see each others’ photos. One group has nearly 50 people in the group and they all add lots of photos. The album got so full over the course of the year, that we started a new one for the new year. I also have a very small group (me and Jim!) with a shared album. It’s a great way to let each other have access to our best photos.

Google Photos makes it very easy to create a group album.

  • Click on the Assistant
  • Notice the “Create New” buttons at the top. Click the Shared Album button.

image

  • Select the pictures you want to share and click the Share button in upper right
  • Enter a title for the album
  • imageClick the Share button in upper right, and select people to share with. Anyone can see the photos you share, only people using Google Potos – you see the logo by their face – will be able to add their own photos to the album

The person who creates the album is the owner, the other members of the group are collaborators. Everyone can add and/or remove their own photos to the album. Only the owner can remove others’ photos. Once photos are in the album, any of the group can leave comments on any photo, or on the entire album. It becomes a great private party with pictures and conversation.

It’s Easy to Share, Perhaps Too Easy

The way shared albums work is thru a web address, a URL. When you share the album with 3 friends, you are giving those 3 friends the address of the album.

This is great. The 4 of you have your own private world to look at, and comment on, each others photos. As long as you keep it among yourselves, it is private. If any of the 4 give the address to a 5th person, then the 5th person can be part of the group. This can be very good. It’s easy to add people to your group. The key is trust among the original 4. You need to trust that they won’t give the address to just anyone. They need to know not to post the address in a public place, or in their social network.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Google Photos Quick Tip: Make that Picture POP!

One of the Google Photos editing tools is called "Pop." What is Pop? Well, it's hard to describe. It brightens a photo, increases the color, brings out some of the detail in the shadows and adds definition and contrast.
  • Open a Photo in Google Photos
  • Tap the Pencil to get into edit mode
  • Tap the Adjustments Tool and you'll see Pop at the bottom
  • Drag the Pop slider to the right to increase Pop
This is one of those things where it's a lot easier to show you than to describe it. Here are some examples of photos with the original on the left and with Pop added on the right.

    Original Photo                                                           with Pop 



Realize that I picked good examples of pictures where Pop makes a difference. It won't always make a big difference, and sometimes you may not like what it does to a picture. But it's such a simple edit to try - why not? You can always drag the slider back down to the left where it started.



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, January 25, 2017

Got Questions about Google Photos?

Have you watched our "What Does This Button Do" show on Google Photos Frequently Asked Questions?

Here is the whole show, the Google Photos part starts at 10minute, 45 second point




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 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.