Google Photos App: Worth More Than Words
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Smartphone cameras have been a blessing and a curse to consumers. As memory and megapixels increased on our handhelds, shutterbugs started shooting photos with no regard for developing costs. This led to dozens of pics a day, hundreds per month and thousands every year–more than the average person could ever sort through.

Now with Google Photos, a new app recently announced last month at the Google I/O keynote, finding the perfect photo of people, places or things shot on your cell phone three months or even three years ago is no longer like finding a needle in a haystack. The app is available for Android and iOS phones as well as desktop computers supporting Google Chrome.

The new app effortlessly organizes photos chronologically, geographically and, with the facial recognition feature, it even groups together all photos based on people who reappear throughout your image library.  You can search photos by keyword based on what might be in the image, as well as crop and rotate photos, and create vignettes from your browser. The app also offers filters that subdue or enhance color, lighting and contrast. And when you’re finished editing and customizing, you can share multiple photos at once with anyone via email, text or social media–even with those who don’t use the Google Photos app. The app can also create animation–using sequenced photos and other art elements, and location data in case you want to create animation using your vacation photos.

There are exceptions, however. Photos cannot exceed 16 megapixels. This isn’t a problem since the iPhone 6 camera maxes out at eight megapixels and the newest Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge shoots up to 16 megapixels. But the service will not accept videos that surpass 1080p resolution. So the ultra-high definition 4K videos taken by camcorders, DSLRs or the S6 Edge will need to be compressed. Per your Google Photos settings, standard high quality uploads are stored for free but uploads exceeding 16 MP per photo will consume your free Google Drive storage of 15 gigabytes and eat into the memory used by a gmail or Google+ account. Additional storage can be purchased at $1.99 per 100 GB.

The new Google Photos app is a great deal compared to Apple’s iCloud Photo Library, which stores only 5GB of photos from your phone for free and charges $.99 for every 20 GB thereafter, or compared to unlimited storage through Amazon, which costs $11.99 annually or comes free with a $99/year Amazon Prime Membership.

The Google Photos app is a descendant of the photo archiving feature originally available for Google+ users, which automatically backed up photos to the cloud from a digital device. Serial Android users with the foresight to have downloaded Google+ on every device they’ve owned in the past five years can find comfort in knowing every photo they’ve ever shot is already available to search, but these added features make the search easier. Those uninitiated to Google+ can also upload for free from their desktops, in addition to their phones

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.