You’re all probably fairly familiar with Google Photos, especially as it took the world by storm and most Google Account holders started to trust the service with their memories and pictures of loved ones and adventure a handful of years back. In recently times, Google has really taken Photos to the next level, adding a Memories tab, and upping its AI game.
However, there are plenty of things you probably didn’t know about the app or website, despite having tinkered for a while. Today, I’m going to tell you 10 things you likely didn’t know about Google Photos. This started as a top five list, but it rapidly expanded, and I actually had to stop myself at 20 and break it up into two separate articles or it would have been way too long. Either way, enjoy!
1. Uploads are placed in your feed based on their metadata
Have you ever uploaded photos or videos only to see them – well, nowhere in sight? You’d be forgiven for thinking that they should appear at the very top of your feed, but in reality, they are slotted into your photo feed in order of the date they were taken. That’s right, the picture’s metadata “date taken” determines where it appears! So, next time you upload photos of 2019, just use the Search bar to hunt them down afterward.
2. You can turn your photos into a physical book of memories
Google Photos is great for digital images, but for those who are interested in physical print media to place on your wall or bookshelf, you should know that Google actually offers a service for that called the Print Store.
In addition to giving you the ability to create a soft or hardcover photo book with I think up to 450 pages – or 3,000 images – (they charge a dollar per extra page after the first 20 images, so you may want to keep it around that amount for the $14.99 USD base price and shipping is not included), you can also get canvas prints and more for the walls of your home!
If you just want to keep things super simple, Google has also partnered with CVS and a few other local retailers so you can have them printed on site so you pick them up in person! You can get 4×6, 5×7, and 8×10 sizes for store pickup, and there are larger print sizes available for delivery. Bonus tip – you can also use the site’s upload button to digitize physical photos from Photomyne, and Capture.
3. There’s a built-in Photo Map for your memories
You probably didn’t know this one, especially if you’re exclusively using Photos on your Chromebook. If you go to the Search tab on the bottom right of the Google Photos app on your Android or iPhone, and then check out the ‘Places’ section, you’ll see a ‘Your map’ option.
By tapping this, you’ll be brought to an actual hotspot map of your memories across the globe! The only other app I’ve ever seen do this is Journey, a journal app. Truth be told, even though this may be seen as kind of weird to some of you, I love the journal aspect of Photos, and use this quite often to see how far spread my travel has been!
4. You can digitize old physical photos with this tool
Do you have a pile of old photos from your parents, grandparents, or childhood that you desperately want to digitize? Google Photos has a tool for that! It’s called ‘PhotoScan‘, and it lets you hover your camera over four AR dots through your phone’s camera lens and snaps a photo.
Then, it combines all four images to eliminate glare that naturally comes from the Polaroid or photo card stock so you can enjoy your memories without it looking like you took a picture of the picture with your phone – even though you did. These photos are then automagically uploaded to Google Photos, pretty cool, yeah?
5. You can upload photos from Facebook, iCloud and more
Believe it or not, Google does play nice with its competitors. Well, so far as it comes to providing tools to get you out of their clutches. If you click the ‘Upload’ button at the top right of Google Photos, there are tools that let you transfer photo collections in from Facebook and Apple’s iCloud, Pixieset, Pic-Time, image.canon and more.
6. You probably don’t own your collages, video creations, animations, etc.
This one counts as a half number because I was unable to verify my claim. Take this as a warning though – I seem to remember Google stating back when it first started automatically adding Photo creations to your account (animations, collages, movies, etc. created with its built-in Assistant) that you don’t own these creations.
While visiting the Google Takeout service the company provides and checking the export formats of Photos, I didn’t see any mention of these either. I’ll reach out to Google (or more than likely they’ll reach out to me) for clarification, and I’ll update this article to be sure.
7. You can combine search terms to find specific content
You’re already accustomed to searching for simple keywords in the Google Photos search bar, but did you know you can combine keywords for a more tailored search? That’s right – let’s say you have a bridge in the background of several of your photos, and only in one of those images you were wearing a blue shirt.
Just type “Bridge + Blue Shirt” in the bar and hit enter. If you recall Picasa back in the day, you had to add these tabs manually, but Google does this automatically with AI and machine learning these days! It’s pretty cool, but it’s not always accurate. Try a few combinations and let me know in the comments what you think.
8. You can place items in a ‘Locked Folder’
Whether you have medical photos or something else private (but legal to store on the cloud service, of course), you may want to check out Google’s new ‘Locked Folder’ option. Found in the left-hand sidebar of the service, it allows you to store images securely and away from your main feed.
Accessing these also requires you to input your Google Account password even if you’re already signed in! You can choose to cloud sync these now, but prior to I think last month, you could only store them on your local machine and display them through the Locked Folder web interface.
9. You can automagically share pictures of the kids with your significant other
Inbuilt is a feature that lets you auutomate sharing of any photos that have a certain person in them. Of course, the obvious use case for this is automatically sharing photos of the kids with your husband or wife. I’ve been using this ever since my son was born, and we now both have all of the photos of our boy in our feed.
The best part is that we never had to tap the ‘Share’ button after snapping a pic. Google does this for you, and you may just need to adjust the face recognition setup that’s used to power this as your kiddos grow. Of course, I can see why you may not want to use this too, but that’s entirely up to you!
if you want to try it out, just go to the ‘Sharing’ section on the left-hand side of the web app, then tap ‘Share with partner’ on the top right. You can choose a starting date (since this day or all), and choose whether you want to share all photos or just those of a certain person as previously discussed.
10. You can turn your albums into digital scrapbooks
Here’s a fun one that I think most of you probably skipped right over. You can actually edit any album and add not only pictures, but text, location markers, sort photos different or even manually, and more! Once you save your changes, you’ll notice that the album looks more like a scrapbook of your journey than a simple wall of photos – enjoy!