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Exploring: Google Photos for Android – The New Stuff

Android is fast becoming the go to picture snapper for millions of people. Sure a DSLR is the best choice of taking photos, but until it can fit in my back pocket, smartphone cameras well remain the number one choice.

Google has already launched its camera app, its file storage service, and even its social media app. Now it is aiming to cater to the shutterbugs with the new and improved Google Photos.

Google Photos has been around for a while but, didn’t really offer anything extraordinary. That is until Google decided to make the app better. Sure there are a lot of file storage services available on Android—Dropbox is my personal favorite—but there is always room for more good apps.

Google certainly has the design nailed down for this one as it is immensely accessible and surprisingly fun to use. So let’s start diving into what makes Google Photos tick and how you can harness its power to the max.


The Welcome

You can easily get the app from the Google Play Store and have it installed in a few seconds. The app is not that big in size so you will be done in very little time.

Download-at-Google-play

The first launch will take some time because you will need to sort a few things before you can use the app.

Welcome Screen Google Photos

Thankfully, Google was nice enough to include a detailed tutorial with Google Photos. I had absolutely no trouble in starting the app up and getting logged in as well. However, the tutorial is something special. After you are done watching the small and digestible slides, you will know exactly what the app has to offer.

Tutorial in Google Photos

After that, you need to tweak some options. The first screen will ask you what account you want to sync and backup. Your default account will already be there. There will also be an option for only uploading photos and videos when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi connection. Limiting the uploads to Wi-Fi is a good way to make sure you don’t cross the limits of your data plans.

Google Photos initial setup optionsThe next screen will give you the option of uploading compressed or uncompressed images. Because I have 9.7 GB of space remaining in my account, I chose the uncompressed option. I’m kind of obsessive about using uncompressed images everywhere, so it was a natural choice for me. The size-reduced images also look almost the same with the benefit of being small in size.

Google Photos picture size settings


The Main Screen

Now that you’ve selected all of your preferred settings, you’ll be taken directly to the main screen. Here you will be able to look at the photos that are uploaded to the cloud storage. You can also view the images already on your device here as well.

Main screen in Google Photos

There are several ways to view the images here. Google has made the changing view quite ease. You can either press the three vertical dots on the top right corner of the screen. Or you can pinch out to change the views. The year view is suited for extremely fast navigation.

Sorted by month

Swiping left or right on this screen will take you to different sections of the app with ease.


The Automatic Sorting

One of the unique things about Google Photos is the auto sorting method they’ve implemented.

Automatic sorting in Google Photos

The app automatically sorted my pictures into categories that were remarkably accurate. For example, all my roadside pictures were neatly sorted in cars. The wedding photos were all found in the aptly named Weddings category, Asian weddings are a flower fest, so some photos were found in that section as well. The accuracy and responsiveness of this feature really impressed me. I guess Google is using its owned technologies in its apps well.

Pictures taken in my City

Location-wise sorting was also available in the app. I actually enjoy browsing the photos on the app with these great sorting features. Google Photos can certainly rival some of the best gallery apps for Android.


Single Image Manipulation

Tap on an image and you can view it full screen. But that is not all that the app is capable of doing. You can tap the little pencil at the bottom of the screen to launch the editing features.

Full screen picture on Google Photos

The editing features while simple, provide ample opportunities to make the image pop out more. You can change the brightness of the image as well as the sharpness.

Edting an image on Google Photos

The Color option can be used to turn an image black and white, effectively making it 67% more artistic (This fact is made up by a con artist).

Then there are the obligatory filters. Some of them are great while some are not so much. But the option of post-processing images is present in the app. Personally, I like the warmer variants.

Filters available on Google Photos

You will also be able to rotate the images in the app, which once again is a welcome addition. The options are not as expansive as dedicated image editing apps for Android but still are solid to use.

Picture rotation option


The Other Options

Once you have opened up an image, a slew of different options will become available. The share button is located on the bottom left side of the screen. You can tap on it to access virtually every app you can imagine. The app will take care of the rest.

Sharing options on Google Photos

You can also press the info button located right next to the editing button. This will give you information about the image. The details are not that numerous, but still a good thing for pros.

Image details on Google Photos

The selection feature of the app is also one of a kind. I recently found myself tapping the screen 800 times to delete some old photos from Dropbox. Google Photos manages this selection feature extremely well.

Long press an image to select it and then simply tap on any other image to select all of the ones between those two. You can then unselect any unwanted image by taping on it individually. This is the kind of intuitive method I wish all image storage apps would start using. The Samsung stock gallery app is lame in this department.

Screenshot_2015-10-09-12-15-05


Conclusion

Google Photos is a simple app, and there are not many options available on it. Sometimes overcomplicating things can have negative results on users. Thankfully, Google Photos is a simple and clean app that works wonders.

The intuitive controls and good editing options make it a joy to use. The image auto-sorting is one of the best ones I have seen in a long while. I hope this exploring Google Photos article will help you in using this amazing app to its full potential.

If you have any questions regarding the app, feel free to convey them in the comments. Till next time, Snap On!

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