Google Photos Update Ends Confusion on Pixel 2 Original Quality Uploads

Google Photos for Android

When the Google Pixel 2 lineup was released a couple of weeks ago, the new phones, like the first generation, were announced to have free uploading of original quality photos to Google Photos.  For those not familiar with Google Photos, original quality photos normally count against your Google Drive quota (which is leveraged by Photos) but compressed, high quality photos, don’t count against it.  Normally for photos under 16MP high quality is a great option because it is pretty lossless.

After the release of the Pixel 2 phones, it was noticed that the original quality uploading for free ended in 2020.  It cause a lot of confusion:  What happens to my photos I’ve uploaded already?  Do they get deleted?  Do they get compressed?  Thanks to an APK tear down by the Android Police team, we have a clearer answer.

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Pixel 2 Owners Get Original Quality Uploads to Photos Until 2020

Google Photos for Android

Now that the dust has settled a bit from yesterday’s massive Google product event, we can start digging into the details.  One of the items in the afterglow that caught a lot of people’s attention has to do with Google Photos and the new Pixel 2 lineup.

As readers are likely aware, with the original Pixel and Pixel XL, users had unlimited uploading of original quality photos to Google Photos.  On every other device out there this counts against your Google Drive quota (remember, Google Photos leverages your Google Drive for storage) so it was a nice perk to have indeed.  Everyone else has to use High Quality, a compression process that allows Google to look at the content of photos to train their AI, in order not to use their Drive quota.  Frankly, I use HQ on my other non-Pixel devices because the compression is pretty lossless, especially if photos are under 16MP.  The original Pixel and the Pixel 2 both have 12MP cameras so technically, there is no reason not to use HQ.

In the fine print yesterday it was discovered that for owners of the new Pixel phones, the Original Quality uploads will be available until 2020.  After that, uploads will start counting against your Drive quota.  This cause a lot of consternation for some but frankly, it isn’t a surprise or a big deal.

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Google Photos Update Improves Video Sharing Speeds

Google Photos for Android

Google Photos for Android has a small but handy update rolling out to users today.  The update, version 3.6 for those keeping score at home, brings improved speeds when it comes to sharing videos from your collection.

The improvements in speeds comes in the way that Photos handles video sharing.  When you want to share a video, a low resolution version of that video is uploaded to the service while the full resolution version is uploaded more slowly.  This is particularly handy when you are in congested network or have low signal while out-and-about.  Now you can share the video and it not take a long time to upload before you can share it.

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The Concept of Albums in Google Photos

Google Photos for Android

Google Photos continues to be one of the fastest growing app & services from the Mountain View company.  With over a billion active users each month, Photos is the go-to place to store your photos online safe and sound.

But as a Google Top Contributor for Google Photos, there is one concept with the app that is a mystery to many:  Albums.  In the Product Forums for Photos and contacts here at the site, the idea behind Albums in Photos is one of the more confusing elements.  Hopefully this little tutorial will help explain things a bit.

First, let’s talk about the underlying structure of Google Photos itself.  The service leverages your Google Drive storage to store your photos.  If you store them in High Quality (you let Google compress your photos under 16MP in size), they don’t count against your Drive quota.  If you keep them in Original Quality, regardless of size, the count against your quota.

Second, there is no folder hierarchy concept in Google Photos.  Everything is in one folder which you view when you are viewing your library.  So what about albums?  Think of them as labels.

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Google Photos Update Brings Improved Video Caching

Google Photos for Android

The latest update to Google Photos is rolling out and bringing a new local video caching feature so you don’t have to stream videos in your library.  The update, version 3.4 for those keeping score at home, will cache a video after you have played it and, when you replay it, will use that local cached version of the video so you are not eating up your data plan to stream it from your online account.

The feature is purely aimed at saving mobile data, something that Google is continually working on across their apps as they try to expand them into parts of the world here mobile data is expensive.

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Latest Google Photos Update Removes Backup While Charging Feature

Google Photos Backup Options

In the latest update to Google Photos for both Android and iOS, the ability to backup photos while charging your phone has been removed.  It is unclear as to why the feature was removed but in version 2.17 for Android and 2.18 for iOS, the feature is gone.  You can still limit the app to only backup when you are on WiFi networks as well as if you want to backup while roaming.

Google Photos remains one of the most popular Google apps with over 1 billion users of the service and over 500 million active monthly users.

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Google Photos Passes 1 Billion Downloads on Android

Google Photos in the Play Store

Google Photos has been getting a lot of attention in the past week.  The photo app was reported at Google I/O last week to have 500 million monthly users, had a new archive feature added, and a new photo book service where you can order a hardcover book of photos from your library.  All of this makes sense when you consider the update to the listing for the app in the Play Store.  Photos now has been downloaded 1 billion times for Android.

The update to the listing comes nearly two years to the day from when Google Photos was originally announced.  My fellow Google Top Contributor in Google Photos, Paolo Amoroso, reminded me this morning that the launch date of Photos was May 28, 2015.

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