Google Photos

In an ideal world, my class photographer would “Dropbox” the photos that were taken that day, then delete them from the iPad.

In the real world, my class photographer sometimes inadvertently bungles the “Dropboxing” portion – either turning the iPad off before all of the photos have been added, or adding the pictures to a random folder where I won’t find them again until I retire.  So, I don’t ask them to delete the pictures when they are done because I’m afraid of losing the precious memories.  Plus – deleting requires the extra step of deleting the files from the “Recently Deleted” album.

This is all to explain why I often hear, “I can’t take any more pictures!”  The not-so-ample storage on our school iPads is filled up.

Google Photos, a free app released this month for Android and iOS, may be the answer to this problem.

Google Photos allows you to set the app to automatically back up your device photos to your Google account.  Dropbox has this feature, too.  But Dropbox does not give you unlimited storage – and Google Photos does!

Another advantage of Google Photos is that you can search for particular faces.  iPhoto had that feature, too.  However, you don’t have to first identify the face with a name, as in iPhoto.  I tried the Google Photos option by picking a picture of one of my students. Google Photos found every single instance of a photo with that student on several different days – even the pictures where he was barely identifiable in the background.

You can also search for other things.  I typed “dog” into the search window, and Google Photos immediately pulled up all of the pictures of my bulldog (except the one where he is hiding behind our drapes; I guess there is a limit to the search feature)!

Dog Search

A search for “screenshot” was not quite as successful.

Screen Shot So, Google Photos definitely solves my backup problem, and kind of solves my I-Can’t-Find-the Pictures-Because-They-Are-In-the-Wrong-Dropbox-Folder problem.

However, I would like an automatic delete option in the Settings. Right now, my students would still need to go through at least two steps to delete the photos from your device, and that is at least one step too many.

Google Photos does make it fun to “Create” different media collections, such as collages or videos, out of your photos.  It’s easy to select multiple pictures by swiping your hand or just tapping. There are lots of options for customizing your new creations, although there certainly aren’t as many as you will find in iMovie or other apps designed for that purpose.

Google Photos isn’t perfect, but it is relatively new.  I expect more features will be added.  If you have a mobile device and a Google account, you may want to try it as an alternative to other backup methods you have been using for photos and videos.

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