There are some tasks that can be downright terrifying when it comes to technology. One of those is photo management. After all, our photos are one of the most precious files we keep. I have even found myself struggling with this task from time to time as devices come and go and space to store photos gets depleted.
Over the last 10 years, we have transitioned from dedicated digital cameras to just using our smartphones. We have also evolved from developing standard film, or printing digital photos on photo paper, to simply storing all of our photos digitally. Sure, some people still prefer to use a high end digital or film camera but, with the quality of the cameras on smart phones these days, most of us just use it. Why not? My iPhone takes really nice photos and even does a great job with HD video.
Here’s the caveat. Now that we print less photos, and take more pictures and videos, we need a way to manage those files. Otherwise our phone’s storage fills up and sometimes, especially in the case of storing videos, we fill up the hard drives on our PCs. More often than not we end up with duplicate photos and a less than ideal solution to storing our digital media.
Does this sound familiar? You copy photos from one device to another in order to free up some space and then, somewhere in the middle, the photos were synced to a cloud service for backup. Then you got a new phone, because the old one took a dive in some unsanitary water. You copied the photos to your new phone, and before you know it you have a big mess on your hands.
There is one solution in particular that stands out to me. I’m not implying this is the best solution, but it does seem to do the trick. The best part is that it will work on almost any device, PC, Mac, Android, iphone, ipad, etc. If you have a Gmail account, you are already setup to start using it. Think of Google Photos as a central repository where all your devices will send a copy of your photos.
There are several advantages that stand out when using this solution and maybe the best being it is free unlimited storage for all your photos and videos. It should be noted, however, there is a limitation of 16 mega pixel photos and 1080p HD Video when taking advantage of the free storage. For most users, this will be more than adequate. When you reach the point that you no longer have space on your device, feel free to delete those photos that have been synced to Google photos and know that Google has them backed up.
Another incredible feature is the search function. I am absolutely amazed at how well this feature works. If you’re like me, and have thousands of photos, it can be hard to find that one particular photo that you are searching for. Google photos makes this a snap by simply using the search box. For example, if I wanted to find all the pictures I have taken of power lines, I would type in the search box “power lines” and, viola, it returns all of your pictures with power lines in them. Most of the time this feature is not used with other solutions because of the time associated with adding tags to make this possible. Google intelligently identifies subjects in your photos, how cool is that?
As with all cloud services, make sure you are aware of the inherent security risks associated and take appropriate measures to protect yourself. With that said, this is just one of many solutions that are available to you. Personally, I have turned off all native photo syncing solutions, and I have been solely using Google Photos to manage my pictures and videos over the past year. I can say without a doubt that I couldn’t be happier with the results.