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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Google Photos is 5 Years old and brand new

Google Photos was released in May of 2015, see the launch video here. To celebrate 5 years and over 1 Billion users, Google has given the app a major facelift. First of all, it has a new logo.

 Old icon

 New icon


Simplify, simplify, simplify

What should the app focus on? Based on watching their users, the Google Photos team has decided that reminiscing is the core of the app. With the thousands of photos we all collect in our lifetimes, and our lack of time to manually organize them all, the ability to be reminded of our memories is of great value.

With that in mind, the Google Photos team cut down the main choices (Tabs at the bottom) from 4 to 3, putting Search front and center. Search is so good - that's nothing new - the hope is that seeing the search icon as one of only three tabs, will make people use it.

The Memories section at the top is kind of like Facebook stories. Just enjoy. Click on one and watch a little slide show. Go back thru the years and see photos you forgot you had. New with the redesign is "Recent Highlights." That's where Google picks what it thinks are the best of your recent photos. Just watch and enjoy. You'll also find the old "For You" creations in this memories section. If you're ever bored and in need of some entertainment, try opening up your Google Photos, click on the first tile of the Memories section and just watch. I'll bet you'll like it.


Old app

  1.   3-line menu (aka “Hamburger”) menu
  2.  Search bar
  3.  Chromecast button (only if on a network with Chromecast)
  4. Google Account profile button
  5. Quick scroll button (disappears when not scrolling)
  6. Memories – content of this area will change depending on which tab is selected
  7. Photos – content of this area will change depending on which tab is selected
  8. Tabs



 New app


  1. Sharing – takes you to sharing screen
  2. Chromecast button (only if on a network with Chromecast)
  3. Google Account profile button, find Settings and help here
  4. Quick scroll button (disappears when not scrolling)
  5. Stars represent favorites
  6. Tabs: Photos, Search, Library
  7. Photo Grid – content of this area will change depending on which tab is selected
  8. Memories – only shows at the top of Photos tab

Where did everything go?

If you are accustomed to using the Google Photos app, it is disconcerting at first when you open the new app. There is no 3-line menu at the top left, there is no search bar at the top, no Albums tab, For You, or Sharing. Everything is still there, they've just rearranged the furniture. Here is a grid of where to find the old things using the new app. They've moved a lot of functionality under the new tab at the bottom called "Library." Most anything to do with managing your library of photos is there. The other button where you'll find a lot of the moved furniture is the Account profile button at the top right. Settings, Free up Space, backup status, and Help & Feedback are there.


The New Map View of Photos

There's not a whole lot that's new in this version, mostly just rearranged, but one new thing is pretty spectacular and that's a Map of your memories. Just tap the Search button and right away you'll see a way to "Explore Map."  If you pinch the map, you can see all of North America on one screen with a "heat map" of where you have taken pictures. 

Zoom in on a location and you'll get a split screen with the map on top and a grid of photos/videos on the bottom. You can move the map and the photos will change accordingly, or you can scroll thru the photos and the map will change accordingly. It's very fast, and very cool. Good job Google!

Any questions? Please leave a comment below.


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, June 19, 2020

Google Photos can stabilize videos

I hope you've discovered that your smartphone camera takes great videos, and videos add so much to the experience of your memories. Even just 15 second clips, combined with your photos, can bring your memories to life in delightful ways. But, any time you are hand-holding your phone while taking video, you run the risk of it coming out shaky.

If you are using an Android device and the Google Photos app, you're in luck. There's a simple, one-click option to "stabilize" your video. Just open the video and tap on the edit button below the video - the middle icon. Edit That will open up the video editing tools.


All you need to do is tap the button at the left called stabilize, and Google Photos will do all the rest. Notice that you also have the option to trim the beginning or end, and to rotate the video. When you're done, tap Save a Copy in the upper right. Note: this feature does not exist on the iPhone version of Google Photos. I hear that the app Emulsio is supposed to do the same thing.

The results


The results of using the Stabilize function with Google Photos app on Android

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, June 4, 2020

How Google Photos can Scan a QR Code

I'm sure you've all been asked to scan a QR code, like the one at the right, at some point in time. That's how you can get a discount coupon at a store, or get more information about a product from a print ad, or make an appointment at a hair salon, or get directions to a restaurant, or listen to a guided tour at a public garden. There are so many uses for QR codes. If you scan this particular code, it will take you to YouTube and a playlist of 25 Google Photos tips.

All iPhones and many Android phones can now scan these codes with just the camera that came built in with the phone. Simply open the camera app and focus on the code, you will see a link pop up that will lead you to where the code goes. 

But, what if you see a QR code that you want to keep and scan later? For example, you're in the Florida Welcome Center and there are posters everywhere about the things to see and do in Florida. Most of them will have a QR code you can scan for more information. You want to do that at your leisure after dinner.

You can take a picture of it, sure, but then how do you scan it from the photo? If you use Google Photos, it's a piece of cake. Just use the Lens button. Open the photo using Google Photos and you'll see the Lens button  third from the left. Tap that and it will go to work scanning the code and then pop up a link to tap to take you 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 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.