You can be up and running with Google Photos in minutes. All you need is a Google account. Go to photos.google.com. Users have one important choice to make. Click the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner and choose “Settings.” When asked whether to upload “High quality” or “Original,” the best option for most people is “High quality.” You can store unlimited photos without it counting against your Google quota. Click the arrow beside “Assistant cards” and flip all the suggestions to “on.”
On your mobile devices, download the Google Photos app. Open the app and click the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner just as you did on your computer. Select “Back up and sync” and turn that feature on. This option causes Google Photos to save any picture you take to their server. If you delete a photo by mistake or lose your phone, your photos are safe on Google’s server. Go to any computer, log into your Google account, and you can see those photos at photos.google.com.
While in the “Back up and sync” menu, click “Upload Size.” Choose “High quality.” In the “Cellular data back up,” turn the options off. This way, Google will upload your photos only when connected to Wi-Fi. You won’t be using up cellular data. Likewise, turn off “Roaming” in the “when to back up” section.
Uploading couldn’t be easier. On your computer, go to photos.google.com. Start dragging your photos into the window. It’s that easy! You’ll be able to view them from your computer and any mobile device where you have installed the Google Photos app.
What Makes Google Photos Unique
Google is the king of search. As a result, the search capabilities are incredible. Enter the name of a person, place or thing, and watch Google Photos return your matches. Try searches for such terms as “pizza,” “wedding,” or the city where you last vacationed.
My favorite part is the way it searches for people. Click the “Albums” button in the left sidebar. At the top of the page, click “People and Pets” and get ready to be amazed. Google presents a single picture of every person or pet from the pictures your have uploaded. The indexing process takes time, so those single pictures will start to appear over the course of days. Your only task is click each picture and give it a name. Once you have labeled a photo “Jim,” searching for that name returns every photo of Jim, even if he is in the back row of his high school reunion picture. The search works on pets, although Google does have a problem distinguishing which of our three Shetland Sheepdogs is which.
The Creative Assistant & Sharing
Take some pictures at the beach? Google may create a collage, or GIF for you automatically. Click on “Assistant” in the left sidebar to see all the collections. On that same screen, you’ll see options for where you can create the same sorts of things. Share them with friends.
You can share a single image, an album, or your entire library with other people. Look for the button in the left sidebar. On your phone, you will see the same icon at the bottom of the screen.
Ever fill up your phone with pictures? On your mobile device, open Google Photos and tap the three horizontal lines on the left. Select “Free up space.” Google removes the photos already uploaded. They’re no longer taking up storage space on the mobile device. But don’t worry. Your mobile devices still read them from the Google server. You still see your pictures from anywhere.
Having more than one backup is a good thing. Photos lost are most often irreplaceable. The older the photo, the more that principle tends to be true. In the last article, we talked about using the Dropbox mobile app to upload your photos to Dropbox. Now, with Google Photos, it’s not either/or. Use both. Each works in the background uploading your creations. Your photos are safe on Google’s server. They’re also safe on the Dropbox server.
And a Video…
Thanks to @tech4educate for producing this video. You will see exactly how to get up and running. Visit and subscribe to the channel for more videos. (Note: Early in the description of how to upload videos, the tutorial talks about an “uploader.” That feature is no longer available.)