Category: Google Photos

Latest Google Photos Update Removes Backup While Charging Feature

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.

Google Photos Passes 1 Billion Downloads on Android

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.

Google Photos Adds Archiving Feature

Google has begun the process of rolling out a new Archive feature to Google Photos.  The new feature will allow you to select photos and move them to an Archive album, hiding them from your main photos view. You will still be able to view the photos in Albums and you can still search for them.  It just removes them from your Photos view.

This feature can be quite handy for more-or-less cleaning up your Photo stream.  As a Top Contributor for Google Photos, I take a lot of screenshots of my Chromebook, Mac and Android devices to help people in the forums.  That means I have dozens of these screenshots in my Photos view.  Well, I did until yesterday.  Now I have them archived but if I ever need to refer to one, I can easily do so.  They aren’t deleted or altered in any way.

Google Photos Update Brings Impressive Video Stabilization

Google Photos version 2.13 is rolling out right now in the Google Play Store and with it comes a new video stabilization feature.  The new feature allows you to post-process videos you have shot and uploaded to the service to give your videos a more stable look.  This, my friends, is Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence at its best.  Using ML and AI, Photos is analyzing your video and essentially correcting the video at the pixel level.  It is astonish that it can sort it out and even more astonishing that you have this in the app.  A free app.

The new feature is located on the edit menu when you select a video from your Google Photos library.  Once you have the video open, you will see a new stabilize button.  Tap it and Photos will start processing the video and smoothing it out.

Google Photos Gets Backup Improvements for Slow Connections

Google has announced that a new backup feature is rolling out for Google Photos.  The update will be for both Android and iOS and will offer users the ability to backup low-resolution copies of their photos while they are on a slow mobile network.  The photos, which will look fine on smartphone screen, will be replaced by a High Quality version of the photo once a stable Wi-Fi connection is established on your phone.

The feature is aimed at users who do not have a high throughput mobile signal.  This gives users the option to have photos backed up so in case something happens to their phone, they will not have lost the photos.  To this point, backing up in Google Photos on mobile networks was done at full original or Google’s compressed High Quality.  Those can take a lot of time to backup on a slow connection.

What Happens if You Go Over Your Google Drive Storage?

Google Drive is a great service for storing your files and photos.  You get 15GB free and if you want or need more storage, you can get an additional 100GB for just $1.99 per month.  But let’s suppose for a minute you signed up for 100GB, use about 30GB and decide you want to cancel your subscription?  You are 15GB over the free limit so what happens to your files, photos and other things you have stored in Google Drive?  In short, not much.  It comes down to the service you are using tied to Google Drive but the data that you have there will remain there and not be deleted.  That’s the good news.  The not-so-good news is that your Gmail will start bouncing incoming messages.

Let’s deal with Google Drive itself first.  If you are over your quota, you won’t be able to upload new files.  Period.  Equally, syncing between your Google Drive folder on your PC or Mac will stop.  But, and critically, you can still create Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides files as they don’t consume any space anyway.  It isn’t necessarily a loophole in that the Google apps never used your quota anyway but it certainly is a way to keep on creating documents.  But keep in mind that the sync between your computer and your Google Drive stops so any Google Docs files created will only show up online in Chrome.  Those PDFs and Microsoft Office files? Yeah, no more uploading and syncing.

An option you would have – which I have done – is to convert your Microsoft Office files to Google.  This can be done via the web app or the Android app quite easily.  Just open up that Word document then go to File and convert it to Google Docs.  You can do the same for Excel files and PowerPoint files.  Once you have done your conversions, be sure to go to your Google Drive trash folder and empty it.  That will delete the Office files and reclaim your quota.  Keep in mind that reclaiming can take up to 24 hours to happen.

Google Photos Update Re-Enables Casting

There is an update to Google Photos for Android that is now in the Play Store that addresses a bug with Casting your photos.  Late last week, the photo app was updated but users began experiencing a problem with it continually prompting for Google Cast credentials and a PIN, even for users who didn’t have a Cast nearby.  On Monday a small patch went out that disabled Casting in Google Photos and the update today fixes that bug and re-enables the feature.

If you were one of the users impacted by the Casting bug, you certainly need to download this update as soon as it is available on your account.

Google PhotoScan Makes Capturing Old Photos Easy

Google is in the process of dropping a new app into the Play Store, Google PhotoScan.  As the name suggest, PhotoScan is aimed at making capturing old photos and them storing them electronically (like in Google Photos) painless but in great quality.  The app detects edges, straightens the image, rotates it to the correct orientation, and removes glare.  Then you can save it to your Google Photos account with a single tap.  And remember – if you are using Google Photos and storing photos in High Quality (photos under 16MP really benefit from this) then they don’t count against your Google Drive storage quota.

Using Google PhotoScan is easy.  With the app on your Android phone, point your camera at the photo you want to scan.  In the PhotoScan app, after you line up the photo and tap the shutter button, there will be four dots on the screen.  Line up the camera with those four dots and PhotoScan stitches things together to create a high quality digital image of your photograph.

Google Photos Now Shows Albums in Search Results

As a Google Photos Top Contributor, there are a few feature requests that I hear pretty regularly.  One of those is now off the list:  Albums in search results.  The latest update to the Photos app now shows you albums in your search results when you are looking for a photo (or in this case a set of photos) within the app.  It is a small feature mind you and frankly, should have been there a while ago.  But it is there now and it is a good proof point that Google does take user feedback seriously.  With any Google app, if there is a feature you want to see, use the Feedback feature to get that to Google.  It really does work.

Google Photos Adds Photo Rotation Assistant

Google has rolled out another update to Google Photos and if you look at the release notes, you would think it was just a but fix release.  However, the new 2.1 version of the app has a new Assistant card that can help you with photos you shot sideways.  In previous versions of Photos – and other photo apps for that matter – if you shot a photo that was sideways, you would have to manually go in and edit that file by rotating it.  You can still do that in this update to Photos but now the app can analyze your photos and determine if it is sideways.  If so, it will give you an Assistant card suggesting that it can auto-rotate the photo for you without you having to manually do so.

Google Photos Improves Photo Sharing To Contacts

Google has rolled out a small but important update to Google Photos that makes it much easier to share your photos with others.  The update gives you the ability to share a photo or set of photos with an individual contact, not just another app.  The ability to share with another app has been there for a while but to share photos with a contact, you had to dive into another app (Messages, Hangouts, etc.) to make that happen.  Now you will see your contacts in the Share menu and can share directly from within Photos, saving taps and steps.

Google Photos Update Brings Photo Sorting in Albums

Google Photos has been updated for Android and with it comes a long requested feature of the app.  Version 2.0 is out now in the Play Store and if you have the app already installed, you will get an OTA update for it over the course of the next few days.  The new feature?  The ability to permanently organize photos in albums.

Prior to this release, photos in an album could be moved around but they could not be sorted automatically (say oldest to newest).  This update to Google Photos brings that feature.