My thoughts on Google Photos

Just last week Thursday 28th of June, Google announced at their annual developer conference (Google I/O) a new service to their offering – Google Photos.


Although that’s just it – it isn’t all new. This is a service that Google has offered previously as part of their unsuccessful social network Google+. I think it’s fair to say that Google has realised the potential Google+ Photos had and made the right move in making it an independent offering of it’s own. From here on, we’ll treat Google Photos as a whole new product.

What is so good about it? Free unlimited cloud storage for all your photos with applications that’ll automatically back up your photos for safe keeping – that alone should make Google Photos a success – however we do need to be clear with what is offered for free… images up to 16 Megapixel in size which if you don’t use a Digital SLR photo isn’t bad at all. If you do want your original images uploaded in their full size – you’ll have 15GB free and can pay for the rest, or consider using Flickr which offers 1TB of storage for your photos.

I’ve had ongoing discussions with friends and family who capture images on their mobile devices and struggle with storage capacity due to photos captured on the go – I personally take all my photos with my phone due to the fact it’s there and the photo quality is good enough for me. So how will Google Photos help with the capacity issue – firstly it’ll automatically upload your photos from the device to the cloud so if you lose your phone the photos are safe and you don’t need to worry about running out of space on the cloud. Once images are uploaded to the cloud, you can access them via the Google Photos app so therefore they can be removed from the device.

Photos? What about the videos – it’s the videos that take up the space! Well they are included too – brilliant! And I’ve checked the videos uploaded from my iPhone 6 and they’ve remained at their full 1920×1080 resolution. A word of warning though – you will have the option of uploading on mobile data which is great if you have unlimited data as part of your package, if you went for a “Poverty” deal to save some pennies you may wish to opt-out of this option and allow the uploads to happen when you are on a wireless network.

So that’s great – if you just wanted to hear about secure upload of your photos to the cloud then you’ve had the good news. Simply grab the Google Photos app from the App Store/Play Store and don’t forgot to install the Desktop Uploader to upload any on your computer too. Note that the desktop uploader provides the option to automatically upload images from removable media like SD cards and such.

Note – if you are reading this and have a Windows Phone in mind. At this time there is no mention of Google creating a Windows Phone app – I wouldn’t hold my breath for one either.

So all your photos are on the cloud – free up space on your devices if you need to as they are safe – your photos can be browsed, shared and downloaded via the mobile apps used to upload them, if you prefer to view them on the desktop you can access them via the Google Photos website – where you can mass sort out images, bulk download images, and a lot more.

An example of the web interface is below – it’s great for viewing photos and viewing data of photos. Information such as where, when and what device a photo was taken on/with is available. The below photo you can see, was taken from the Manhattan Bridge with my Nexus 5 on 1st May 2014.


With all of that data collected Google allows you to search for, and browse your photos by these parameters – where it was taken, when it was taken or what device it was taken with. This instantly allowed me to quickly find photos of my daughter as a young toddler as was able to search for images taken in the town we lived in with my iPhone 4.

Google takes it one step further and recognises things within your photos – everything like landmarks, objects and people. For example if I search my photos library for “bike” it’ll display all photos it finds that contain bikes in them – photos of my old bikes, me on my bike and photos of my daughter riding her bike. That’s really cool.

To quickly summarise, Google is offering unlimited storage of your images in high quality, at no cost and providing excellent tools to manage and if desired organise your photos into collections and albums. I’ve not even touched on some features such as the editing capabilities, movie maker, suggested enhancements – give it a go.

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