Wednesday , October 18 2017

Google photos, one year on

Google Photos Logo

Photos can mean many things to many people, a cherished memory, an important record and much more. Before the digital era, people judiciously took each photo knowing they only had a limited number of shots until they ran out of film, not to mention the cost of getting them developed. When you got your precious images what did you do with them, organise them into large, bulky and heavy photo albums? Put them in a shoe box? Lose them?

Jump forward to today and with the advent of digital photography and the ubiquity of camera phones, not to mention social media image sharing, and people are far less judicious with their photos. Why take one when you can have 10, why not take photos of your food, feet or friends? We’re not even going to estimate how many selfies get snapped every day.

This new freedom of photography led to a new problem for people. Where to store the ever growing mountains of photos and how to organise this enormous photo collection? We’ve all had the experience of losing an image, in the moment, those images were the most precious thing we could ever have lost, and in some instances, they very well could have been.

Enter the Cloud. For a few years, various service had allowed you to upload and store you images on their servers, Dropbox, Picasa and Flickr to name but a few. However, no-one had nailed the full package, free storage of high-quality images, automatic sorting, easy search, auto-enhancement, editing tool and ubiquitous access.

At Google IO 2015, Google started a journey that would achieve all of that, and this is only the beginning. This was not Google’s first entry into the cloud photo space with both Picasa and Google+ photos offering good functionality to their users for years, however, Photos took the platform well beyond either of these services.

Google has a pertinacity to region restrict a product or service just to the US, sometimes indefinitely. We’re glad that Google Photos was not one such service. Launched with wide availability Google photos has gone from strength to strength over the past year. Now having over 100 million active users, I know I have set up dozens of accounts for friends and colleagues who all want to harness the power of Google’s AI powers in their pocket.

If you’re unfamiliar with the service or are interested in catching up on the progression of Google Photos here are a few links showing it’s progression from launch to the present state.

Google Photos has been an unequivocal success, it works, it’s delightful and it does genuinely surprise you with some of its auto-creating features. Whilst we aren’t expecting any big reveals for Google Photos at next week’s Google IO 2016, we do think that the success and growth of the service will be featured along with the power of AI. You never know they may even through in a new feature of two?

With Google Photos being such a success it makes you wonder what Google may try and “solve” this year, with their winning combination of Cloud, AI and ubiquitous access (sorry Windows phone users).

What is your favourite feature of Google Photos? Let us know below.

 

Duncan Jaffrey   Journalist

Duncan has been interested in technology since coding "Mary had a little Lamb" in Basic on his ZX Spectrum. A fan of all things Android, most days you'll find Duncan trawling the web for Android news or quietly editing away on Map Maker.

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8 Comments on "Google photos, one year on"

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5sNo11

I like how it can stitch together photos to automatically generate Panoramas…

Member

The Windows uploader should not ignore the albums I have already placed photos into!!!!! It should delete duplicates. Face recognition needs work, including the limited number available on web and the smaller number available on the phone.

Paul Smedley
Valued Guest
Paul Smedley

I just wish there was a way to upload photos from a linux server, meanwhile I’ll stick with dropbox for photo backup.

Member

I used control-a from inside Chrome on Linux from the Photos page and uploaded thousands. It took a while. It would not do folders which was a bit annoying.

Member
Matt

Not a great solution but Samba share to your pc and then share the folder? Map a drive letter if necessary.

Member
Adam J

I love the Google Photos features, but there are a few things I’d like to see.

First, the ability to detect and optionally remove duplicates. The desktop uploader is supposed to do this but it doesn’t seem to work. Secondly, some kind of easy way to use Google Photos with a DSLR (perhaps through Eye-Fi?). Last, better capabilities for businesses to use photos stored there on websites and social profiles.

Member
Matt

I found I have a lot of duplicates where the photos are in different resolutions but otherwise identical.. maybe there is slightly different compression, etc. but the content is the same. Googles ability to analyse photos would be perfect for that and I wish there was a way to easily remove these. Also duplicate(1) duplicate(2).jpg. I did send feedback detailing my issues but I think there’s a lot more important stuff they could deal with first.

Duncan_J
Valued Guest
Duncan_J

All that sounds good

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