Google Photos is more than just an app for storing your photos. While it's primarily for backing up photos, there are more ways to edit and share hidden inside. You also have some serious control over every aspect of the photos, from which folders get backed up to image quality and looking back at past photos. It gives you a solid place to store and sync all of your photos so that you never lose one again.
Google Photos Getting started
Google Photos aims to be your one-stop-shop for all of your images and videos. Before you can start to take advantage of the many things you can do by using Google Photos, you need to know the basics. This includes things like choosing your images, deciding on optimal upload quality, and choosing which device folders from your smartphone should be synced with the Google Photos service.
Google Photos Sharing photos
Google Photos makes it so easy to share your memories and photos with friends, family, and colleagues. You have control over who can see the photos that you share and you can even set up specific folders for sharing. You can even share access to your entire Google Photos library with trusted people, such as a spouse or partner. In the unfortunate event of a family member passing away, you can recover their old photos if you remember to follow the right steps.
Another fun way to share photos and communicate in the app is through the messaging feature. This allows you to send photos to specific people in an informal chat format that feels almost like a mini, private social network.
If you want to preserve or share hard copy versions of your memories, you can always order prints, posters, or photo books through the app or you can order prints from third-party retailers such as Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens.
Google Photos Managing your photos
Google makes it easy for you to keep track of all of your photos and optimizing your photo library. You can create new folders, share specific folders, and even add to existing folders or allow folks to collaborate and add their own photos to the folder you have invited them to. If you have a lot of photos tied up in other services, fear not. Google has made it easy to import photos from other services like Facebook or OneDrive.
You can archive photos that you don't want in your main gallery but that you might want to access later, or you can easily get rid of unwanted images like old screenshots. Another great way to save space on your phone is to take advantaged of Google Photos' Free Up Space feature, which can automatically remove photos and videos from your device once they've been safely uploaded to the cloud.
Google Photos' machine learning is incredibly adept at identifying people, places, pets, and things, but you can also easily correct any errors or manually tag photos as you wish.
Google Photos Cost
Since it was first rolled out back in 2015, Google Photos offered free unlimited storage for photos and videos, but with a few caveats. The first caveat was that this unlimited storage only applied to "high-quality" images. The second caveat was that If you wanted to back up all of your photos in "original quality," you'd have to pay for more storage or be using a Google Pixel phone.
With a recently announced policy change, all photos, be they high-quality or original-quality, will count against a user's 15GB free allowance across their Google One storage as of mid-2021. In addition to the new storage limitations, it has been rumored that some new or existing editing features may be locked behind a paywall. Many have argued that even with a price tag, Google Photos remains an amazing service that is worth paying for. However, if you disagree, it's relatively easy to export your pictures from Google Photos and take them elsewhere.
Google Photos Additional features
Google Photos has plenty of additional features that you might not have heard about. Just because features are hidden a bit under the surface doesn't mean that you shouldn't check them out, though.
Google recently revamped the editing tools within Google Photos, allowing you to take advantage of powerful AI and machine learning to apply automatically suggested edits or even adjust portrait lighting after the fact. You can create your own fun animations, collages, and "movies" as well.
One of our favorite features is the "on this day" style flashbacks and recent highlights that you can see as soon as you open the Google Photos app on your device. It's also great fun to set up photo slideshows that you can see throughout the day on your Nest Hub or smart screened Google Assistant speakers.
There is also the new Google Maps integrations, that lets you rediscover your memories as hotspots on the world map.
Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't revisit Google Lens — a fantastic AI tool to learn more about the images in your library. You can get background, translations, shopping links, and more thanks to this impressive feat of engineering!
Are you a fan of Google Photos?
Google Photos delivers a great app that can be used to share, save, upload, and even edit the photos that you take on your smartphone or that you have taken on other devices. With plenty of features that are easy to use, it becomes a great storage tool for the photos you take every day. Do you use Google Photos for storing your snapshots? Be sure to drop us a line in the comments and tell us about it.
Update, November 2020: This article has been updated with all the latest links and relevant Google Photos information.