Yesterday, I covered 10 things you probably didn’t know about Google Photos. Because I got a bit carried away, it was originally supposed to be 35+ things, so I decided to break it into a separate article here today.
Now, I’m going to share 15 more things you probably weren’t aware that Google Photos could do. While you are likely aware of some of these, I hope that I cover a handful that are new to you so you can enjoy the service even more than before. So, without further ado, let’s check them out!
1. There’s a built-in video editor
Google Photos is not just for storing your snapshots; it also offers a surprisingly capable video editor. With this feature, you can trim clips, apply filters, and even add music to your personal videos. It’s a great way to polish up those memories before sharing them with others.
To use the video editor, open the Google Photos app and select a video. Tap on the ‘Edit’ icon, which may look like a pencil or sliders depending on your device. You’ll then be presented with editing options such as trim, stabilize, and filters. Adjust your video as desired and tap ‘Save’ to keep the changes – that’s it!
2. You can hide painful memories without deleting anything
The service also gives you the option to hide specific photos or videos from your main gallery without having to delete them permanently. This is especially helpful for images that you don’t want to see regularly but aren’t ready to remove completely – for example, painful memories of a lost love one or pet.
To hide an item from your main feed, find the photo or video in question and tap on the three-dot menu in the top right. Choose ‘Move to Archive’. This will transfer it to the Archive section where it’s out of sight but not gone for good. You can view your archived items at any time by accessing the ‘Archive’ folder in the main menu. Additionally, you can tap on a memory in the top carousel and select the ‘Hide’ option followed by the ‘Remove this memory’ feature that appears on the following menu.
3. Your Google Photos are built into your Chromebook’s wallpaper picker
Chromebook users get a special treat with an easy integration of Google Photos into their wallpaper options. This allows for a more personal touch when customizing your Chromebook’s appearance.
To set your wallpaper from Google Photos, right-click on your Chromebook’s “desktop” and select ‘Set wallpaper’. Click on ‘Google Photos’ in the wallpaper picker and choose from any of your synced pictures to make your Chromebook feel more like your own – you can also choose from your saved albums, which is my favorite part!
4. You can grab a copy of your photos and videos with Google Takeout
For those who want to back up their data or move it to another service, Google Takeout is a convenient tool. It allows you to export all your Google Photos content to a downloadable archive file. I recommend while doing this to choose zip files of no more than 2GB in size to assure reliable downloads.
Visit the Google Takeout website, select ‘Deselect all’, then scroll down and just select ‘Google Photos’. Choose the specific albums or all photo data and follow the prompts. After the process is complete, you’ll receive a download link via email or a notification within your Google account.
5. Albums can now have ‘Highlights’, but you have to enable them
‘Highlights’ is a feature in Google Photos that showcases the best photos from your albums. It uses Google’s AI to determine which images stand out, presenting them at the top of the album for a quick reminiscence of the best moments.
To enable ‘Highlights’ for an album, go into the album in question, tap on the three-dot menu for options, and choose ‘Edit album’. Here you should see a toggle for ‘Highlights’. Turn this on to activate the Highlights feature for that album. You can customize which ones will be included manually too, and after they’re added, they appear at the top of said album as shown in the image above.
6. Google Photos is sort of a private social network
Within Google Photos lies a feature that offers a quasi-social network experience. You can create shared albums and engage with friends and family through photos and comments, making it a collaborative and personal way to connect.
To start sharing like a social network, select or create an album and tap the ‘Share’ button. You can send invites via email or link. Once your contacts join, they can add their own photos and comments to the album, creating a shared space for interaction around the photos. Also, anytime someone ‘likes’ a photo, it shows a heart in the chat!
7. You can manually change the time, date and location of any upload
Organizing photos by the correct time and place is crucial for recalling when and where your memories were made. Google Photos allows you to adjust these details to maintain an accurate timeline. You may be saying under your breath that the photo already has metadata from the camera it was captured on, but that’s not always accurate.
Consider also that if you’re uploading a photo that was modified and the metadata was changed prior to its addition to Photos, manually tweaking it can be helpful. To edit these details, open the photo and click on the ‘Info’ icon (typically an ‘i’ inside a circle). Here, you’ll see editable fields for the date, time, and location. Make the necessary adjustments by tapping the pencil icon next to either the time or date and make sure to save the changes when you’re done.
8. Your captions are great, but they don’t export in Takeout
While captions are a great way to add context to your photos within Google Photos, it’s important to know that these do not get exported when you use Google Takeout. You’ll want to copy any crucial information elsewhere if you plan to export your images.
To add captions, click on a photo to view it and hit the ‘Info’ icon as previously mentioned. Here, you’ll also find a place to write a caption right at the top! Remember, if you intend to export your photos using Google Takeout, manually note down any important notes about that memory – I can’t stress this enough, and I hope that Google changes this in the future.
9. Photos ‘Assistant’ can help you clear the clutter
The Assistant feature in Google Photos is like a personal photo management helper. It suggests actions like archiving redundant photos, creating animations, and making stylized photos.
To access Assistant, tap the ‘Utilities’ tab in the sidebar. Here, you’ll see various cards suggesting different actions. Follow the prompts to take action and keep your photo collection tidy and organized and consider using Google Drive’s scanning tools to upload documents instead of snapping regular old photos of them in the future!
10. You could upload more content if you enable ‘Storage Saver’
With the ‘Storage Saver’ option in Google Photos, you can store more content by allowing Google to compress photos and videos to a smaller size. This is ideal for users with limited storage space (read: a free account with 15GB shared across Photos, Drive, and Gmail).
Go to Google Photos settings, then to ‘Backup & sync’ and look for the ‘Upload size’. Choose the ‘Storage Saver’ option, which will compress your future uploads slightly to save space, allowing you to store more memories. Interestingly, Google does a pretty darn good job of reducing the size of each upload without a huge or even noticeable hit to the visual quality.
11. Anything above 16MP will be downsized to 16MP
Google Photos has a limit on the resolution of stored images; any photo over 16MP will automatically be resized. This helps to conserve storage space, especially when using the free storage option we just spoke about.
No action is needed from you for this resizing. However, if you upload photos and notice a decrease in resolution, this is likely the reason and certainly an exception to number ten above. Always keep originals backed up elsewhere if you need to maintain the original high resolution.
12. Google Photos skips duplicates upon upload so you don’t have to
To save you the hassle of managing duplicate photos, Google Photos automatically detects and skips uploading them. This neat feature ensures your library stays free of redundant images and is something I took note of back when I worked in stores with Chromebook customers. It’s honestly really cool.
To benefit from this, simply upload your photos as you normally would. If you’re concerned about duplicates, you can always use the search feature to check for them manually. However, in most cases, Google Photos’ detection system works seamlessly in the background.
I would just say that if you think something is a duplicate, it’s probably a ‘similar shot’ that you took seconds after another. To the naked eye, they look the same, but they’re not, and Google’s new Photo Stack feature that’s coming soon will help you get rid of these.
13. You can store RAW photography in Photos, but be careful
For photographers who prefer shooting in RAW format for the best quality, Google Photos can accommodate these files. However, RAW files are significantly larger than JPEGs, so they will take up more of your storage quota. Yes, I know this contradicts the 16MP upload size, but that’s for Storage Saver, which I probably should have mentioned.
When you upload RAW files, the process is the same as with any other image file. Just drag and drop or select the files to upload. Be mindful of your storage space and consider purchasing additional space if you frequently work with RAW files.
14. Enhanced search capabilities that recognize text within images
One of the more powerful features of Google Photos is its ability to recognize and search for text within your images. This is done through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, making it incredibly easy to find specific documents or images with text.
Simply click on the search bar at the top of the Google Photos app or website, and type in the text you’re looking for. Google Photos will return results that include the text, even if it’s embedded within an image! I know, mind blowing, right? This can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to locate an old note or a specific document among your photos. Again, I highly recommend using Google Drive for these kinds of documents though.
15. Dynamic Albums with Live Albums Feature
Last but certainly not least, there’s a nifty feature called ‘Live Albums’ built into the service that can automatically add new photos of people or pets you choose to a specific album. This dynamic album updates itself whenever you take new pictures of the selected subjects, saving you the time and effort of manual organization. This is the same tech used in the Partner sharing feature I mentioned in yesterday’s article.
To create a Live Album, go to Google Photos and click on ‘Albums’, then ‘New album’. Create it with a few images, and then choose the three dots ‘more’ options menu at the top right to enable ‘Automatically add photos’, choose the faces you want to add, and Google Photos will automatically populate the album with existing and future photos of these subjects. This smart organization feature ensures that you always have the latest photos of your loved ones at your fingertips without constant curation.