Category Archives: Google Photos

Google Photos gets more low-bandwidth savvy

It’s not glamorous, but optimizing apps for low-bandwidth environments is critical to democratizing access to their benefits. Having traveled in Nepal, I can tell you that all the cool creations in the world don’t matter if you can’t even back up & share your photos.

With that in mind, Google Photos is rolling out some important updates:

Now your photos will back up automatically in a lightweight preview quality that’s fast on 2G connections and still looks great on a smartphone. And when a good Wi-Fi connection becomes available, your backed up photos will be replaced with high-quality versions. We’re also making it easier to share many photos at once even on low connectivity. Never mind if you’re at the beach or hiking in the mountains, with Google Photos you can now share pictures quickly even with a spotty connection by sending first in low resolution so friends and family can view them right away. They’ll later update in higher resolution when connectivity permits.

🌍💪

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New Google Photos courses land on Lynda.com

Photographer and educator Seán Duggan covers Google Photos in this week’s Mobile Photography Weekly, and he dives deep in Google Photos: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques:

Photographer and educator Seán Duggan shares a collection of power tips that can help you get the most out of Google Photos. Learn how to manage photo storage, use the stellar search capabilities of Google Photos, edit your photos, and make animations, slide shows, and movies from your images. Plus, learn how to share photos securely with friends and family.

Check it out—and thanks, Seán!

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Google Photos: Badass in a motorcycle jacket (?)

Heh—I enjoyed this mental image from Fast Company:

With its new Photo Scan (Android, iOS) app, Google basically donned a leather motorcycle jacket, strutted into a party full of regular photo-scanning apps, knocked everyone’s drinks out of their hands, kissed the prettiest one straight on the mouth, and told the DJ to take a hike.

They go on to say,

If you’ve got old photos to digitize, this should be your first stop. The app is fast, accurate, and best of all, free. And it’s a complete no-brainer if you already store your snaps on Google Photos, as it’ll zing all your scans there automatically.

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[YouTube]

How To: Changing photo dates in Google Photos

So, now that you’ve downloaded PhotoScan & digitized a bunch of images, how can you give them proper dates? Here’s how:

On photos.google.com, just select the group of photos you’d like to adjust and click “Edit date & time” in the menu dropdown. You’ll be able to shift or set the time stamps, and preview the changes before saving.

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Here’s a quick video demo (showing how to edit one image, but applicable to multiple simultaneously):

[YouTube]

Google Photos introduces new concept movies

The first batch of movie concepts (“the kinds of movies you might make yourself, if you just had the time”) that Photos introduced in September have been really well received, and now the team is rolling out more:

More automatic movies, made for you: baby’s first months, holiday traditions, highlights from the year, and more.

As before, just live your life, back up your pics, and keep an eye out for movies arriving via the Assistant in Photos.

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[YouTube]

The Google Photos editor gets smarter & more powerful

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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When I joined the Google Photos team, they’d just integrated Snapseed into Google+ (the predecessor of Photos). As I hope is obvious, I’m a huge Snapseed fan, but when we looked at what most users actually did in G+ (crop, rotate, tweak brightness, and maybe apply a filter), it became clear that Snapseed was dramatically more complex & powerful than they needed.

Therefore we made the hard decision to reset & build a new editor from scratch. We aimed to deliver great results in a single tap, offer just a few powerful sliders (which under the hood adjusted numerous parameters), and keep Snapseed just one extra tap away (via the overflow menu) for nerds like me.

The vision was always to keep learning from users’ behavior, then thoughtfully enable just the controls needed to deliver extra power when needed. I’m delighted to say that Photos now does just that: the update released Tuesday on iOS, Android, and Web (try it here) manages to keep a simple top-level UI while revealing a lot more of the power under the hood.

The filters UI applies Auto (which can now produce more accurate results) as part of every filter:

These unique looks make edits based on the individual photo and its brightness, darkness, warmth, or saturation, before applying the style. All looks use machine intelligence to complement the content of your photo. [1]

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In the adjustments section, in addition to the Light, Color, and Pop sliders:

  • Light opens to reveal Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Vignette
  • Color opens to reveal Saturation, Warmth, Tint, Skin Tone, and Deep Blue

I continue to find Auto to be highly effective for the bulk of my images, but I like being able to pop the hood when needed.

Please take the new features for a spin & let us know what you think!

Oh, and since you’ve been kind enough to read this far, here are some useful shortcuts for use on desktop:

  • E to enter & exit the editor
  • R to enter & exit crop/rotate
  • Shift-R to rotate 90º
  • A to Auto Enhance
  • O (press & hold) to see original
  • Z to zoom
  • Left/right arrows to move among images
  • Cmd-C/V to copy/paste edits among images
  • After clicking a slider, use arrow keys to adjust it & press Tab to put focus onto the next slider

Introducing Google PhotoScan

“Photos from the past, meet scanner from the future.” I think you’re gonna dig this (available now on Android & iOS). 🙂

Don’t just take a picture of a picture. Create enhanced digital scans, with automatic edge detection, perspective correction, and smart rotation.

PhotoScan stitches multiple images together to remove glare and improve the quality of your scans.

Check it out:

So, how does it work? Let’s hear right from the team:

Enjoy, and as always please let us know what you think!

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[YouTube 1 & 2]