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4 Reasons “Google Photos” Wins My Heart

Reading Time: 4 min

Since the launch of the Kyocera VP-210 (Visual Phone) in 1999, known as the first commercially available camera phone, phone cameras have come a long way. According to Google’s Gemini, the best cameras today are found in the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max, Google Pixel 8 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. However, even the best hardware is useless without reliable software. Whether you’re an iOS loyalist or an Android enthusiast, there are countless photo apps available in both official and unofficial app stores. These apps can be divided into three main categories: those that use your phone’s built-in camera to take photos, those for editing photos, and those that do both. Google Photos falls into the second category. Beyond its key features like smart search and organization, easy sharing and collaboration, and basic editing tools, Google Photos has four additional features that make it worthwhile. Here are the four features that make Google Photos win my heart.

Acknowledgement: “Google Photos” is a trademark of Google Inc. All rights reserved. The 3D image of the Google Photos used as the thumbnail is for illustrative purposes only and is the property of Google Inc.

Copy Text from Images Feature

I once saw an Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max user explaining how to copy text from an image and transfer it to apps like WhatsApp or other devices like an iPad or a MacBook. While Android didn’t have a similar built-in function, I recently discovered that the Google Photos app can do this. To use this feature, open the full-screen image by tapping on it, and then tap the “Copy text from image” button. The app will provide options based on the type of text selected. For instance, if you select an email address or a phone number, you can add it to your contacts list. This feature is especially useful for copying text from shopping lists and prescriptions into Evernote that my mother sends me. You can even paste the text to a PC if you have Google Chrome installed and are signed into the same Google account on both devices. This feature is the first reason Google Photos wins my heart.

Top Pick and Best Take Features

If you have the “Photo Stacks” feature enabled, Google Photos will use a combination of factors to select the best photo. For similar photos, Google Photos utilizes machine learning to identify and group similar shots taken around the same time, analyzing factors like sharpness, composition, and lighting to choose the best one. This function is very handy because I’m not a professional photographer and am unable to choose the top picks myself.

For individual photos, especially portraits, Google Photos might prioritize the “Best Take” feature, which uses AI to analyze facial expressions, head poses, and whether the subject is looking at the camera. It picks the photo where everyone looks good and smiles naturally, and might even combine elements from similar shots using other AI features. These two features are the second reason Google Photos wins my heart.

Note: Top Pick and Best Take features are just intelligent suggestions; you always have control over your photos and can disable features like Photo Stacks if you prefer.

Locked Folder in Google Photos

My smartphone Oppo A12 already has a built-in “Secure Vault,” but I can’t add it to the home screen. Therefore, I switched to the Locked Folder in Google Photos. As the name suggests, you can save sensitive photos and videos to the Locked Folder, which is protected by your device screen lock (PIN or biometrics). Items in the Locked Folder won’t appear in the Photos grid, memories, search, or albums, and won’t be available to other apps on your device that have access to your photos and videos. The Locked Folder is protected by Google Photos’ standard encryption practices. You can turn on automatic backup for your Locked Folder and access it from other devices when signed in with your Google Account. If you use a Pixel device (Pixel 3 or later), you can save directly from Pixel Camera to the Locked Folder. This feature is the third reason Google Photos wins my heart.

Automatic Backup and Storage

The automatic backup and storage feature used to be my favourite in Google Photos until Google Photos ended its unlimited free storage policy for photos and videos on June 1, 2021. However, you can buy a Google One subscription starting at Rs. 300 per month (100GB of storage for Photos, Drive, and Gmail), so you shouldn’t miss unlimited storage so much. Regardless of whether you are on the free 15GB tier or a subscription plan, it’s crucial to back up your photos and other data. Former WIRED magazine columnist and senior writer Matt Honan, after an epic hack, mentioned that he wouldn’t have had to worry about losing more than a year’s worth of photos, covering the entire lifespan of his daughter, had he been regularly backing up the data on his MacBook. Recovering those photos cost him $1,690 (approximately LKR 520,942.50). Therefore this feature is the fourth reason Google Photos wins my heart.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, Google Photos has emerged as an invaluable tool for me, offering robust capabilities in managing, organizing, and safeguarding my treasured memories. Its diverse features, including text extraction from images, intelligent photo curation through Top Pick and Best Take, the secure Locked Folder for sensitive content, and essential automatic backup and storage, collectively provide a holistic solution to photo management challenges. These functionalities not only enhance user convenience but also underscore the app’s indispensability in our increasingly digital lives. Google Photos stands out in a saturated market by not just storing photos, but by effectively preserving memories, facilitating easy sharing, and ensuring stringent security measures. This comprehensive approach has truly captured my trust and admiration. I enthusiastically recommend Google Photos to anyone seeking a reliable and feature-rich application for managing their photo collections with ease and confidence.


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