Google Photos Review for Android

Google Photos launched a year ago with a clean, friendly interface and nearly unlimited storage for all your images. We were impressed at the time, but now this Android app has morphed into something much more exciting, with creative and editing tools. Along with powerful search, organization, and sharing tools. Google Photos is a great service that bridges the gap between photo storage and photo editing, and is a must-have for your digital camera bag.

There’s also an iPhone version of Google Photos ($0.00 on Google Play), which we’ve also tested and offers most of the same features.

Google Photos

Storage and prices

Once you install Google Photos, you must choose between uploading high-quality (compressed) or original (uncompressed) photos to your Google Photo cloud backup. If you choose the former, photos larger than 16 megapixels are reduced Even if you have a phone like the PCMag Editors’ Choice Sony Experia Z3 ($0.00 on Google Play), which shoots at 20.7 megapixels. But Google stores all of its images at 16 megapixels for free. These images can be accessed on the web via Google Drive (and the Google Drive app for Android ($0.00 on Google Play)), though they don’t count toward your storage limitations.

If you choose to upload uncompressed images, your free storage drops from infinity to Google Drive’s default 15GB, less than the average capacity of an SD card. Note that Google recently added the ability to downgrade uncompressed photos.

By comparison, the Android app Flickr ($0.00 on Google Play), which also automatically uploads any photos you take with your phone, offers 1 terabyte of free storage, with a maximum individual image file size of 200 MB. 1TB of Google Drive space, you would have to shell out $9.99 per month.

The Free up Google Photos device storage option in Settings deletes all local content that has already been backed up. When we first tried this feature, it reclaimed a whopping 1.2GB of space. If you take selfies often this could make a big difference. By contrast, Apple iCloud Photo Library ($0.00 on Google Play) has an option to keep the photos on the phone at a reduced resolution while the full resolution image is displayed. stores in iCloud. This way, you can still keep your photos to display on the phone. The downside of iCloud is that it only gives you 5 GB of free storage.

 

Focus on search

The main view of Google Photos presents all your snaps in reverse chronological order. You can also view your photos in the larger Comfort view or sorted by month or year. If you feel confined by your phone, tap the Cast button in the top corner to send images to a TV through your Chromecast device ($0.00 at Google Play) {{/ZIFFARTICLE}. Unfortunately, this does not include streaming to the open standard Miracast capability, which is built into many Roku smart TVs and boxes and is Android compatible.

The app uses some pinch-to-zoom UI tricks to change the photo view. It’s so easy and logical that I’m surprised it’s taken this long to show up in a photo management app. You can also press and hold to select multiple photos and swipe to switch between All Photos, Collections, and Assistant. As you’d expect from Google, it’s clean, clear, and eminently usable.

Although you can scroll through all your photos grouped by time period, this is a Google app, so search is at the forefront. Just tap the bar at the top of the screen and Google Photos presents different ways to divide your photo library. This includes location, previous searches, detected faces of people, and media type (screenshots, selfies, etc.). Face Search is remarkably powerful. It can even detect the same person over several years. He had no trouble discerning Max’s countenance, whether it was a baby-faced teenager or a bearded adult.

Previously, Google Photos did not allow us to give names to detected faces or merge detected people. Now, you can add a name for each detected person, and if you add the same name to two people, Google Photos will offer to merge the groups of images .Even Google makes mistakes, and we’re glad to see this critical feature finally added.

The search bar also lets you type in whatever you want, just like you can with Google Image Search. When we first tried the search feature, we were more confused than impressed. Searches for “dog” returned dogs, along with cats, goats, pigs, and wood ducks. We’re pleased to see that Google has greatly improved this feature. exactly that breed. It even worked for dark dog breeds, like the Icelandic Sheepdog.

But we’d still like to see categories of objects organized by automatically applied tags, like Flickr does, without the need to find a search term. You’ll see people and places options if you just tap on the search box without typing any text. very useful as a means of gathering relevant images for a collage, album, or other Google Photos creation. Search is also not robust enough to find specific images. A search for Max’s signature orange jacket turned up nothing.

Unlike many photo apps, including Flickr, Instagram, andPicsArt Photo Studio ($0.00 on Google Play), Google Photos doesn’t offer any actual photo shoots from within the app. Flickr and PicsArt let you shoot directly from their software and may offer focus and exposure options. Other apps even let you view an effect filter applied as you shoot. Google Photos, by contrast, focuses entirely on storage and editing. That’s fine, but it would be nice to have the whole photography experience packaged up seamlessly.

 

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