The Google Photos application and service is Google’s current means of backing up and organizing your photo and video library. The service replaced the older Google+ Photo Backup service and offers users a choice of either unlimited but reduced quality storage, called “high quality” by the application. The unlimited service restricts photographs to 16MP JPEGs in size and videos to 1080p resolution. Customers may instead use full quality images and video streams, or save in a RAW file format, but this utilizes Google Drive space. The application can be set to backup photographs and videos over either mobile data and Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi only. It has toggles for only backing up data when connected to the power supply or when roaming, allowing a granular level of control over how and when your photographs and videos are backed up.
In addition to the ability to back up and store unlimited quantities of photographs, Google Photos also has powerful, cloud-based search functionality built into the application. It’s possible to search for individuals based on facial recognition, objects, animals, places or times and the search engine is deliberately optimised for your device, which means that the results are speedy. The importance of a powerful search engine behind the Photos service cannot be underestimated because over time, many people collect thousands of images and finding a particular photo or collection of photographs can be difficult. Google have added the ability to include albums, which may be shared with contacts, making it easier than ever to share media across the world.
As with most Google products and services, the company is constantly improving the application. We’ve seen photo editing functionality included into Google Photos and improvements in how to share images from third party applications to facility backing up images. However, one area that has been lacking is the ability to manually upload individual items for the backup service. This can be very useful if you wish to share a given photograph or video with another contact, or back up a particular image or video just in case. Google Photos already has the ability to upload media from a third party service into the backup system and it is about time that the application includes a manual backup option. Keep your eyes on the Google Play Store for the application update, which should be arriving any day now.