Friday, 7 August 2015

Secret Tips For... Google Photos

Google Photos

Create timelapse animations, instantly organise your photos and edit Google Drive files virtually

Automatically organise your photos and videos

The Google Photos app (Android, iOS automatically displays all your phone and tablet photos and videos - including screenshots, downloads and items received by text - in date order. Tap the search icon (blue magnifying glass) to instantly reorganise them by subject matter. No files are moved around (so it’s not quite as impressive as Mary Poppins clicking her fingers to tidy up); they’re just displayed in a different order.

Add Instagram-style filters

Google Photos is far more than just a rolodex for photos. It’s also a great editing tool, with more versatile filters than the overrated Instagram.

Tap any photo, tap the pencil icon and then, tap the mountain-peaks icon. Tap a filter to try it, then use the slider to adjust its intensity - something you can’t do in Instagram. To crop and rotate, tap the angles icon. Tap Save to save your edited copy (the original isn’t overwritten).

Access Google Drive photos without downloading them

Google Photos lets you access, search and edit your Google Drive photos using your phone and tablet without having to download them to the device as well.

This is very convenient if you’ve paid for Google Drive storage space ($1.99/£1.28 per terabyte per month, with 15GB free; but don’t want all those files clogging up your device.

To see your Drive photos in Google Photos, tap the menu icon (three lines), then Settings, and then the Google Drive slider so it’s blue. You can then uninstall the space-hogging Drive app without losing your files, because they’re stored in your Google Drive account.

Create and share albums

There’s a whole new world of functions lurking behind the ‘Create new’ list, which opens when you tap the +’ symbol. Here you can turn your photos and videos into albums, collages and more.

The process is similar in each case. For example, tap Album, then tap to select photos and/or videos. Tap Create and wait a moment while the app works behind the scenes (‘Preparing files’). When prompted, type an album name and then tap the tick. The album, which you can edit later, is automatically saved in your Collections menu.

To share your album via email or another app, or to copy the link to your clipboard for posting online, tap the Share icon (the dot-to-dot <’).

Make timelapse videos

Our favourite ‘Create new’ option is Animation. For best timelapse-style results, select a series of photos (up to 50) shot in quick succession, or a series of similar photos. When you play back your animation, it will play in a looping video.

We found that our video wouldn’t play when we tried sharing it directly in messaging apps. So we copied the link and pasted it into the message instead, and it worked a treat. The animation automatically played in the recipient’s browser on PC, phone and tablet.

Hack Google Photos to recognise faces

Google Photos can’t seem to work with children and animals. Well, mainly animals. Its automatic sorting algorithm got off to a mortifying start when it categorised photos of black people as ‘Gorillas’. In Japan, a Twitter user’s father was deemed to be a ‘Horse’ ( - but at least it got him retweeted 25,000 times. Closer to home, Google Photos thinks my cats are dogs.

We don’t know how good it is at identifying individual people, because that function isn’t available outside the US - probably for the best. But if you’re brave enough to give this function a try, fool the app into thinking you’re in the US by using a free VPN app like Hotspot Shield (Android, iOS www.snipca. com/17327). Find out more at