Friday, June 15, 2018

Google Photos - Your questions answered

We got your questions! Lots of them! We'll answer them live as we record Episode #145 of What Does This Button Do?"




We answer a lot of questions about Google Photos everywhere we go. This week, we solicited questions for our YouTube show, "What Does This Button Do?"
We got a lot of responses!
How do you get photos taken on Samsung Galaxy 8 from gallery to Google Photos automatically (ie. without having to select them/ tap share/ tap upload to G.P.) ?
LOVE your show.. I've learned a lot from listening to you...

Ed and Deanna
I have google photos and when I open up the app I see my photos, yea. If I “free up space” it gives me the message “delete 399 items...” Sure I want free up some space. But where can I recall these photos one month or one year down the road? Until I am certain I can get my photos back, I’m not throwing anything away!  Ken
 How do I get Google photos on my computer & then print them. Thanks, Eleanor
All my pictures are organized in folders and sub folders.  How is this handled in Google Photos?
Question re: taking a selfie using OK Google mentioned in one of your previous shows.I have a Moto G phone with the OK Google app.  If I start with OK Google and ask it to take a selfie, the camera goes on, however, it won't reverse from a regular photo to selfie mode.  Any suggestions?
So I’m using Snapseed to add text to my photos on Google.  If I take pics with iPhone is there a quicker way to add text and that picture will be picked up by Google.    Adding text works but makes me miss PicasaThanks Phyllis
 I'm a long time Google user so I have a great deal on 94 Gb of their online storage. But, alas, it is now full of photos and videos that I have plenty of space to upload to other cloud providers with greater capacity at a more favorable price. My question is twofold: how can I quickly, easily, and painlessly delete those Google stored photos; and how can I prevent that drive from filing up again? Rainer
Can you put Google Albums in alphabetical or date added order. I’m always scrolling through the list. Tim
I have at least 1000 photos taken with 5 different cameras over the last 20 years. All are jpg format, and all are on a single Windows drive, (yes, I do have backups).  I need to eliminate duplicates, group by events, vacations, family (plenty of overlap) etc.  I fear that if I upload to Photos (I can accept the reduction in resolution) things will get hopelessly scrambled. Please suggest a plan of attack. Jack 
Those are just some of the questions we will answer. If you tune in while we're live, you can also ask questions in the chat.  

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, June 5, 2018

Google Photos "Free Up Space" command is scary

An opening screen of Google Photos encourages users to
remove photos from their device
The moral of the following story is this: Make a separate backup of your photos, either to your computer, or to another cloud storage like OneDrive or Dropbox BEFORE using the Free Up Space command on Google Photos.

Why? Because you want a true backup of your photos. Let's step thru the count:
  1. You take a photo with your phone, at this point you have one copy of that photo
  2. Google Photos copies that photo online to your Google account, now you have two copies of that photo, the original on the phone and a backup in the cloud.
  3. Free Up Space removes the original photo from the phone, now you have only one copy of that photo.
One copy does not a backup make!

Here's the story

One of the reasons that people start using Google Photos is the advertised capability to remove the photos from your phone after they've been "backed up" to Google Photos. I teach a lot of newbies how to use Google Photos and the conversation goes something like this:
User: I've installed Google Photos, so now I can delete my pictures from Gallery, right?Me: No, do not delete using the native Gallery or Photos app. You need to use the Google Photos command for removing photos User: What command is that?Me: In the Google Photos app, tap the 3-line menu, then Free Up Space. The Free Up Space command will delete them all in one tap, AND it will only delete photos from the phone that have been successfully uploaded to your Google Photos account.
So far, so good. My main goal is to teach them the proper command. I don't want them using the trash can (which deletes both the device copy and the cloud copy) or using the native app to delete photos (which will delete photos that haven't been uploaded to Google Photos yet.)

The second part of the conversation goes like this:
User: Ok, I tapped the Free Up Space command and now I get a message that 1,367 of my photos will be deleted and this cannot be undone. I'm scared.Me: Good! That tells me that your photos are precious to you. Let's be double-sure they're safe before you delete the originals from the phone. If you do these two things first, you can Free Up Space without fear ...

  1. View your photos on a computer. If you can open a browser on a computer, go to Photos.Google.com and log in with your Google Account username and password, you should see all your photos. This will give you the confidence that they have, indeed, been copied from your phone to your Google account, AND, that you know the username and password for that account!
  2.  If you have another cloud storage account with sufficient space, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Amazon Prime Photos - they all have the ability to automatically upload photos from your phone, similar to Google Photos. I use OneDrive. I have a Terabyte of storage there because I pay $99/year for Office 365. There is a OneDrive app for my iPhone with a setting to upload all photos. Only after I see that is complete, do I use the Free Up Space on Google Photos.

    If you don't have another cloud storage service, you can connect your phone to your computer, or an OTG Flash drive to copy all photos to that storage. You can also connect your phone wirelessly to any hard drive, using a travel router like the one we demonstrate here.

    Note: Apple's iCloud Photo Library is yet another cloud backup solution, but if you use that, you cannot use the Free Up Space command because the photos will be removed from iCloud when they are removed from device.
Love your photos? Back them up!



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, March 29, 2018

Bad News about Picasa ... but we were warned

How do you upload photos from your computer to Google Photos? 
If you're still using Picasa to do this, you're in for a rude awakening next time you try to click that green button - or any option for "Upload." 

If you don't use any upload or sync options with Picasa, then you have nothing to worry about. The Picasa software on your computer still works for managing your folders of photos on your computer, for editing them, and for making collages. You'll just need to use other methods to upload them to your Google Photos account online.

We were warned

The official announcement is in the Google blog here
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, it's been predicted ever since Google retired the Picasa program. The problem is that we've been lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that the upload from Picasa has continued to work as long as it has. Just last week, I used Picasa to upload pictures from my computer to Google Photos, now "all of a sudden" it doesn't work. 

If you want to know how to upload photos to Google Photos from your computer, that was the subject of Episode 138 of What does this button do?



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, February 28, 2018

Google Photos: Everything you need to know

I wrote a book about Google Photos. It's titled Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos. The subtitle is "Your lifetime of photos, effortless and free." I keep thinking, if Google Photos is so effortless, why do I need a 100+ page book to teach how to use it?
I've come up with these 14 points as all you really need to know. The links to videos are for GeeksOnTour.com premium members. Please leave a comment if you think I left something out, or got something wrong. If you take a lot of photos and wish that they were all together and safe so you never had to worry about them - Google Photos is truly the best option.
Member Tutorial Videos:
497.GP-Install on iOS
496.GP-Install on Android
490.GP-Backup Complete
500.GP-Install Backup and Sync for Windows
476.GP-Manual upload from smartphone
475.GP-How to upload photos from an external hard drive
474.GP-Manual Upload from Mac Photos

  1. You need a Google account to use Google Photos. Make sure you know your username and password.
  2. To use Google Photos on a mobile device, download the free app from the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (android)
  3. Once the app is installed, open it and accept the default settings: 1. Your google account 2. High Quality file size 3. Only upload when on Wi-Fi
  4. You will immediately see the photos on your device. If your device is connected to Wi-Fi, it will start uploading (copying) all those photos to your account in the cloud.
  5. Your photos are not “in Google Photos” until the backup is complete. You must open the app to view the progress and watch for the message “Backup Complete”
  6. Once you see “Backup Complete” you can remove photos from your device and still see the Google Photos copy. But, DO NOT use the trash can for this, that erases the photo from everywhere – device AND cloud.
  7. Android note: your device may have photos in “Device Folders” other than the camera. They will not be included in Google Photos until you: menu, device folders, select the folder and turn on Back up & Sync.
  8. iOS note: if iCloud Photo Library setting is on, leave it on until Google Photos backup is complete. Do not delete photos or FREE UP Space using Google Photos while iCloud Photo Library is on because it will also delete them from iCloud.
  9. Optional: I recommend a second cloud backup service like One Drive, Dropbox, or Amazon before removing photos from your device. That’s a true backup.
  10. To remove all photos from your device and leave them in Google Photos – use the 3-line menu and FREE UP SPACE (iOS: Do not delete photos or FREE UP Space using Google Photos while iCloud Photo Library is on because it will also delete them from iCloud.)
  11. To use Google Photos on a computer there is no software to install, just go to the website, Photos.Google.com and sign in with your Google account.
  12. To upload pictures from your computer to Google Photos manually, you have 2 choices: 1. Drag and drop from computer folders to Google Photos website 2. From Google Photos website, use the Upload button.
  13. To upload pictures from your computer to Google Photos automatically, install the Backup and Sync app and set preferences to specify what photos you want uploaded and how you want them synced.
  14. All photos uploaded to Google Photos, from whatever device, will be included in the “Library.” The photo library is one giant stream of photos in order by date taken. There are NO folders.

The 14 points above are everything you need to know to successfully store your lifetime of photos for free, forever. Once they’re there, there is so much you can do with them!


  • Explore: Google automatically groups your photos by People, Places, and Things. It is so much fun to explore and find photos you’ve forgotten. You can also use Search, and find photos without the need to tag them first.
  • Edit: Google Photos has built in editing tools that can, so easily, make your pictures look better. It also works together with the Snapseed app for hundreds more, professional, editing tools.
  • Creations: it’s easy to make your own Albums, Collages, Animations, Movies, and even printed Books.
  • Sharing: your library of photos is private, for your eyes only, but Google Photos makes it easy to share the ones you want.
Here is one of our "What does this button do?" live YouTube shows: What's New with Google Photos

Please leave a comment if you use Google Photos and learned something in this article.

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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, author of Mrs. Geeks Guide to Google Photos, and owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog. She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.