Monday, December 30, 2019

If you take pictures of receipts, you'll like the Crop Document feature in Google Photos

This is a relatively new feature in Google Photos (Oct 2018), and it's only available on the Android version. If you took a photo of a receipt, a business card, or a full page document, it looks better if you crop the background out, and adjust the skew of the photo.
  1. Open the photo and tap the edit button Edit
  2. Now tap the last button on the right, the 9-dot grid
  3. You should see "Crop Document" at the top, tap that
  4. Try tapping the "Auto" button at the bottom, it should crop to the edges of the document
  5. If auto didn't do enough, you can drag any of the 4 corners into position manually
  6. Tap Done, then Save



Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

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

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

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

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

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

Google Photos movie maker needs more features

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

What is Google Photos Movie Maker?

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

What features are missing?

In the current version of the movie maker,
  1. You cannot add titles
  2. There are no transitions
  3. There are no pan and zoom effects on still photos. 

Movie made with Google Photos in 2015 includes missing features.

These features actually existed when Google Photos first came out in 2015. Here is a movie I made back then to prove it - pay attention to the movement between slides and in the photos themselves. You will see the pan and zoom motions, aka the Ken Burns effect.

Google bought a video editing company

At the end of 2015, Google bought a company called Fly Labs. Fly Labs was a video editing company and there was great excitement that Google Photos would be getting a lot more movie making and video editing capabilities. They first implemented the Fly Labs software into Google Photos sometime in 2016. The interface changed a lot and it is easy and elegant, but the transition, pan/zoom, and titles were gone. At the time I said, "That's ok, I'm sure it's coming."

Where are the video editing improvements?

It's been FOUR YEARS! Where are the features we had before? Let alone any new features like slow/fast motion and voice over?
You know I love Google Photos, but I'm starting to recommend other apps for making movies. Here is our YouTube show where we demonstrated Filmora Go.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Google Photos and Manual Face-tagging

People love the fact that Google Photos groups photos together by faces in the People section. And, they hate it when it doesn't get the people right. Now you can fix this with the Edit People option. This new feature is available on all 3 platforms: computer/web, Android, and iOS.
Every picture has an info panel. On the computer/web version you click the i for info and it opens up the panel to the right. On mobile, you just swipe up on the picture to reveal the info panel. 
One section of the info panel is the People or Pets that are found in the photo. In this photo it notice 2 people but not the third.


Click the pencil to edit the people and you'll see your options to add or remove people. Notice that it now shows the third person. 

Add the missing person

If you want her to show up in your People albums, just click/tap the blue +. You will then have the option to add to an existing person album, or to create a new one. 


Remove an existing person

Notice the red - next to the two existing people. Click/tap that and that face will be removed from any people album. Why? Usually it's because they've been mis-identified. So, let's say that the man in this photo is not Jim Guld. You can remove him, then his face will show up with the blue + and you can re-add him to the correct people album.

What if a face is in the photo but doesn't show up at all

If Google doesn't see the face in the picture, there is nothing you can do. You'll need to take another picture and hope it does better next time. Faces do need to be generally facing front to be seen.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, December 6, 2019

They moved it! Using Google Photos and choosing to edit in Snapseed is still there.

Using Snapseed to edit photos
Snapseed is my favorite way to edit photos on my phone. It's a free app from Google that you need to download and install on your phone. It's available for both iOS and Android. Once it's installed, you can use it with any photo in Google Photos.
The way to access it from Google Photos has recently changed, here's how to get there now.
On iPhone, swipe up on the photo and you'll see "Open in Snapseed" as an option below the photo
On Android, open the photo, tap the edit button, tap the 9-dot grid, then you'll see Snapseed as an option.

How to get to Snapseed from Google Photos on Android




GeeksOnTour.com has a Learning Guide for Snapseed for members. Snapseed: Getting started with photo editing
Coming soon - a new course on Snapseed.


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Using Google Photos you can now share photos with a conversation just like texting

Direct Sharing

Have you ever shared a picture using Google Photos and the recipient says they never got it? Did they tell you to send it in a text message instead because they like how a text message keeps a running conversation along with the pictures?
If so, you'll love this new feature in Google Photos - it makes sharing any photo(s) from Google Photos act just like text messaging. It's rolling out now on iOS, Android and Web! 
  • Select your photo(s)
  • Tap the share button or 
  • Find your friend's icon in your contact list and select them (or you can create a group)
  • Type a message (optional)
  • Tap Send
  • You should see a scrolling conversation with your photos and your text as well as any responses from your recipient. It looks just like a text message. If you don't see this, then your device has not yet received the feature.
The first time you send a photo to a person, that person will receive an email notification as well as a push notification (pop up on your screen) from Google Photos. After the first time, they will only receive the push notification. 

Only works with Google Photos users

You can use this method to share photos with someone not in your contact list by tapping the Search button entering their email address or phone number. This will only work if Google finds a google account using that phone number or email. If it does find someone, you can select them and continue. If it doesn't find a Google account with that address, then you can't use this method. After tapping the share button choose "Share to apps" instead and select your email or texting app.

Use this saved conversation next time

The photos sent between you and this recipient are still collected in a shared album, just like before the change. So, next time you want to send a photo, instead of selecting the photo and tapping the share button, you can tap on your sharing section and find the album shared between the two of you and tap the Add to album Add to album button.
 For more info, read  announcement here. or  Help Center article

Sharing with a Link

This is still my preferred way of sending photos to someone when I don't know if they use Google Photos, or what messaging app they use. When you select photo(s), click the Share button and you should see an option to "Create Link" (on iOS, you need to tap on "Share To:" before you see Create Link.)  Once you have a link created, you'll see the message "Link Copied, you can share it in an app." Now you can go to any app you'd like, email, text, WhatsApp, Facebook, anything, and paste that link. Any recipient will be able to click the link and see the photos.  Don't know how to 'paste?" Here's a video
I keep a running list of all the Google Photos updates I notice. You can see my list by visiting GeeksOnTour.com/google-photos and click on the heading for Google Photos updates. 

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Find photos by text in the photo - and other new features in 2019

Google Photos just keeps getting better at searching your photos. One of the recent new features is the ability to search for text that is found in the picture. 
Some photos found in searching for "welcome."
The pictures you see here are just a few of my photos that were found by searching for "welcome." 
Go ahead, give it a try:
  • Just open Google Photos on your Android, iPhone, or photos.google.com on the Web
  • Click on the search bar at the top and type  welcome  or any word you think will be found in your photos
  • Press Enter on computer, or the checkmark or search button on mobile.
  • Did it find any?
Google Photos 2019 - what else is new? Since my book, Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos: second edition, was published in summer of 2018, I've been keeping a list of everything that has been added or changed. That will be the topic of our next What Does This Button Do? show. 

  • What: Episode 179 of our YouTube show
    Google Photos 2019 - what's new?
  • When: Live this Sunday, November 24, at 2pm Eastern
  • How: just click below. If you watch while we're live, you'll be able to ask questions. If you watch later, you'll see the recording.




Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Resurface Old Memories with New Feature of Google Photos

Have you noticed a new set of icons at the top of your Google Photos app? That's called "Memories" and it's Google's way of saying - "Don't forget about your older photos, there's some good stuff here."
I take a lot of photos, all the time. My Google Photos account stores over 100,000 of them, so there is a lot of content for Google to re-surface in this new feature.
I have a bubble for 1 year ago, 2 years ago, and all the way thru to 15 years ago. You may not have a bubble for each year because it is looking for pictures from "this week" in each year. When you tap on a bubble, you get a slide show. There may be one photo, twenty photos, or any number in between, depending on how many photos Google found for this week in that year.

They're temporary

These are temporary albums, they aren't stored anywhere, they are just there for your browsing pleasure. Next week, they'll be different.
A cool feature is the ability to share. Let's say you click on 8 years ago and you see some wonderful old pictures of Jerry. There is a share button at the top of the screen so you can share directly from this memory rather than scrolling thru your library to find them.


Hide your unwanted memories

Maybe you'd rather not see photos of your ex-husband, or your ex-boss? There's a setting for that! In the main Google Photos screen, tap the 3-line menu, then Settings. You will see an option for Memories. Tap there and you'll have an option to turn memories completely off, you also can tap on People & pets and see all the faces in your library - tap on any that you want to hide.
You should also be able to hide selected dates on the same settings screen. On my devices, I see the Date option on my iPhone but not my Android.

For more info on this Memories feature, see the official Google Blog: Watch and manage your memories

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, October 3, 2019

Navigate to a Photo

As an RV traveler, this has to be my favorite feature of Google Photos. I take a picture every time we park at a new camp spot. Now, whenever we are away from that spot, I can easily navigate back there using this feature of Google Photos and Google Maps. You don't have to be an RVer to use this feature though. What if a friend takes you to a special, nearly hidden, parking spot? You'll never remember how to get there. Just take a photo and your phone will be able to use its GPS capabilities and get you back to the exact spot.

This works on iPhones or Android, but you must be using Google Photos and Google Maps.
  • Just view the photo and swipe up to reveal the map - see animation here.
  • Tap the map and you'll go to Google Maps
  • In Google Maps, tap Directions, Choose starting point as Your Location, then >Start
Don't see a map? 
That means your camera is not capturing location information when you take a photo. You need to turn the setting on:
Android: Open the camera, find settings, look for "Location Tags" or "GeoTags" and turn it on.
iPhone: Settings, Privacy, Location services = On, Camera = While using the App

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, July 22, 2019

Check your Google Photos Settings Now


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

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


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

Not a member? Join now. (It's less than $5/mo paid annually)
  • Got Questions? Ask on the Q&A page of our website. Answering questions is a benefit of membership.
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Learn more with these short tutorial videos:

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What's happening with Google drive and Google Photos?

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

The settings that are being removed

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

The implications of this change

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


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

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

Other Articles

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

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Adding and Removing Photos from Albums

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

Develop your own Album "system."

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

To add a photo to an album

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

To remove a photo from an album

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

Albums are our one organizing tool

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

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

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


Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Top Contributor for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Photo Descriptions

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

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




Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday, January 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

Google Photos is GREAT for sharing albums of trips and events

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

We do not allow collaboration on our shared albums

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

Shared Albums vs Facebook


Shared Albums

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



Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983. She is now a Product Expert for the Google Photos Forum, owner of the LearnGooglePhotos.com blog, and author of Mrs. Geek's Guide to Google Photos
She loves to teach! If you want to learn, you’ve come to the right place.