As a computer consultant I see lots of ways that people manage their files and photos and honestly, some of them are better than others. I’ve seen some people take pictures with their iPhones and back them up to iCloud, some taking photos with a regular digital camera and either putting a memory card in their computer or directly connecting the camera to their computers and just storing them in a folder somewhere on their computers. I feel the best photo management solution is one in which you have an unlimited amount of cloud storage where photos are backed up and are accessible and manageable on any device. The methods I just mentioned just don’t seem to fit the bill in all of those areas. There is only one solution that I feel is the best that checks all those boxes for me and that is Google Photos!
Backing Up and Organizing Your Digital Photos
I think the biggest issue with managing photos on your computer is getting them off your camera or smartphone. Well if you are using your phone you can just download the Google Photos app and it will automatically upload them to Google’s cloud where they will be safely backed up and accessible from any device, including your computer. If you’re using a dedicated digital camera, you can upload them to your PC like you already do and then install the Google Backup and Sync app to backup all your photos to the cloud.
When setting up the photo backup you can choose to get unlimited storage by having your photos stored in Google Photos format, or you can opt to store your photos at the same quality as your camera took it which will use up the 15GB of free storage you get with your Google Account. If you choose the latter option you may need to purchase more storage from Google but it’s pretty affordable.
To access the photos on your phone from your computer, all you have to do is open your web browser and type photos.google.com in your address bar, login to your Google Account and there they all are. From there you can create albums, edit photos and videos, make movies, and lots more! You can even download photos to your PC if you desire a local copy and share photos with your friends very easily. But of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s some more cool things you can do:
Scanning Your Old Photos
If you have a photo album or a shoebox (like I do :O) filled with old analog pictures, you don’t have to risk losing them to fire, water damage, theft. Just download the Photoscan app on your phone and follow the instructions. You just move the camera so it lines up with the dots on the screen and just like magic, you have a digital copy of your photo to upload to Google Photos without any glare! Now even your physical photos are backed up into the cloud forever, just as viewable, sharable, and editable, as all your other digital photos.
Neat AI Features
As of late, Google has been putting their Artificial Inteligence powers to work in just about all of their apps. Google Photos is no exception. The apps on your phone and computer will automatically tag you photos by place, people, time. You can even tag people you know and Photos will identify them so you can easily look up photos with your favorite people in them. (Kind of like Facebook but without the awkward public outing of your friends. :/) Another cool feature is that every once in a while you’ll see stylized photos, timelapse videos, and movies created automatically for you in the Assistant tap of the app. And when you’re scrolling through your photos, you might even find suggestion on things to do with your photos, such as archiving, adjusting brightness, and more. Just tap the suggestion button to activate! Pretty cool stuff there!
Collaborating and Sharing
Of course, what good is storing, organizing, and editing your photos in the cloud if you’re not going to share them or get photos your friends shared? I myself have never been a fan of sharing photos on social media, there are way too many security holes and data collection being sold to advertisers that I hardly ever upload photos to Facebook or any other social media site. Instead, when I want to share some photos I just put them in an album, and share the link to the people I want to share them with.
You can also share albums and make them editable for your friends to upload their photos to the same album. Imagine you’re having a party and allowing all of your guests to upload the pictures they take to a shared album. After the party, Google works it’s magic and you’ll have plenty of stylized photos, movies, and of course edited copies of photos. It’s a pretty neat system and I highly recommend it to all you shutterbugs out there!
Whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone, I think you’ll find that Google Photos is the best photo management and storage solution. If you take a lot of photos, you’ll also love that the photo backup will also allow you to automatically free up space on your phone so you can take even more photos. I am sure that if you try Google Photos, you won’t want to go back to your old ways of managing photos.