Get Organized with Google Photos

Dear Google Photos,
I love you very much. You backup my photos and share them with my teammates, and even make me collages and videos. You are pretty great.
Amy Baker

Why do I love Google Photos? Let me count the ways! There are four specific things I love about Google Photos. And a few things I dislike/tolerate. But that's love, AMIRIGHT?

Love #1: Searching

Playing around with search is very fun on Google Photos. You can search by date, location, face/person, and even pretty generic subjects.

Search for people by name, super accurate after you "name" your faces. Even works on Billie with his constantly changing facial hair.

Search based on a general term, here I searched for "Training".... none of these photos were tagged or described by the way. This is just Google's search engine thinking it knows what training looks like:

One of the searches I use most is the search by date range:

Love #2: Sharing

Google apps are pretty good at sharing and Google Photos is no exception. You can share photos, albums, and even your entire library (with one person anyway). 
Our team has a shared album for team-y photos (mostly of IT GOLDY!!). We all share it and it works the best of any shared photo thing we've tried.
My family uses this functionality too for photos we want to share.

Love #3: Creates Photo Stuff

This part is very fun. Google Photos can create videos, collages, and animated gifs with your photos. It either does this automatically through the Google Photos "Assistant" tab, where it apparently guesses what you might want (!!), and then you can save it permanently or ignore it.

You can also manually put together videos and animations. Here's one that I made in just a few seconds from two photos!

I have noticed that the Google Assistant is much more active on my personal Gmail account, where I have like a bizillion photos. At work, it doesn't do much, I think because I only have a few hundred photos.

Love #4: Automatic Backup

You can set up Google Photos to automatically grab photos from your computer and/or your phone. Then your cloud backup of photos (cloud backup is definitely a must-have!) is all taken care of automatically.
You can even set it to delete the photos off your phone's storage once they are in the Google Photos cloud, as an optional extra step during backup. This is handy if you don't have much space on your phone and is one of Google Photo's main marketing points. I personally don't use this delete function, because I'm super fussy about photo backup and want my photos in 3 places before I delete them. See--super fussy, what did I tell you.
If using your account, you get unlimited photo storage as part of our unlimited storage agreement with Google apps for Education.

Here's a screenshot of how to have it set to backup (Photos calls it "Backup and sync") over wifi only:

Pro tip: I primarily backup to my personal account, since the majority of my photos are not for work. Then I select the work ones and share them with my work account. You set this up however works for you.

Dislike #1: Downloading

You can copy/paste images pretty easily out of Google Photos, but if you need to do anything fancy (like print them, which I still do a lot of) you will need to download them.
Also, to get photos from Google Drive into Google Photos--you're not even going to believe me--you need to download and re-upload. Ugh. seriously.

Dislike #2: Leaving the U

If you leave the U and lose your account, eventually your photos will go poof and you will not be able to access them anymore. The best way around this is, in my limited experience, is to share with whomever needs the photos after you leave (maybe yourself on a different gmail account, maybe your supervisor, etc.), then that person clicks the "add photos to library" button, to make the photos theirs and not 'shared.'
"Add to Library" button:

Another option is to use the Google Takeout tool to download all of your photos, but I have heard that doesn't always work well with thousands of photos and all their meta data. But I haven't tried it myself.


I think Extension could love Google Photos as much as I do. You can share photos with your team and easily search and find them. Have you used it? What questions or experiences have you had?