Google Photos, a photo storage app from the search giant, has only been out since May, but the company recently said that people have already uploaded more than 50 billion photos to the service.
And for good reason: It’s the best way to backup and organise your photos, even if you don’t have an Android device.
Sure, Apple may have recently refreshed and improved its Photos app, but even if you have an iPhone, I still recommend using Google Photos.
It’s not only the easiest way to backup your photos, but the app also has many more features than the iPhone’s Photos app.
Google Photos gives you free unlimited storage (for photos under 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p in resolution), while Apple charges for storage above 5 gigabytes.
The caveat is that Google stores compressed versions of your photos, though the company says that compressed versions are still high quality enough to print photos 24 inches x 16 inches.
You can store uncompressed versions of your photos on Google Photos, but it will count against the free 15 gigabytes of online storage Google gives each account. (You can also purchase more storage from Google.)
Google is good at search. Period.
Google Photos analyses your pictures so you can search by what's in them. This makes it really easy to search through ALL of your photos by searching for things like 'mountains,' 'aeroplanes,' 'concerts' or 'cat,' or by location like 'California.'
You can even search for 'selfie' to see all of your selfies.
Unlike Apple's Photos, which only works on the Mac and iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, Google Photos works across all of your devices. There are apps for both Android and iOS devices, and you can access Google Photos via the web from a PC or Mac.
This is great if you have an iPhone and a PC, or if you have an Android tablet.
Google Photos has what it calls an 'assistant,' a feature that makes things like collages, movies, animations, and 'stories' from your photos. It also has a Timehop-like feature that shows you photos from whatever day it is, but from a few years ago.
It automatically created the above GIF from a series of photos I took while on vacation.
Without altering the original photo, Google Photos also adds effects to photos. Some of the enhancements are better than others, and Google always asks if you want to keep or delete the creations it makes.
Above is an 'enhanced' version of a photo I took on vacation that Google Photos made without altering the original image.
It also automatically detects when you've taken three photos or more in succession, and stitches them together to create a panoramic image.
The big caveat with Google Photos: You have to be OK with giving your photos to Google, and giving Google access to your photos, in order to use the service.
As I've written about previously, I approached the service at first with trepidation, but ultimately decided that the convenience and features of Google photos outweigh my privacy concerns.
Google says that it won't use your photos themselves in advertising without explicitly asking for your permission, but I expect that the company will use the information gleaned from the photos -- what's in them, where they were taken, etc. -- to better advertise to you.
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