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5 Google photo tricks that only the pros know

For those sentimental individuals who love to capture as many memories as they possibly can finally have a way to keep their highest quality photos and videos in one easy-to-access place.

Google Photos is a handy tool that provides its users with free, unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. The program categorizes the photos in a way that users can organize their images into various subjects such as People, Places and Things.

Google announced earlier this year that its Photos service reached 500 million active users. Many smartphone owners use Photos to automatically back up their images online, but if that’s all you’re using it for, then you’re missing out on some nifty features.

Let’s explore the hidden world of Google Photos where you can do everything from making a photo book to finding your adorable pet pictures with ease.

1. Take advantage of free photo storage

There’s one very important setting you need to know about if you use Google Photos to back up your pics. Google offers unlimited free storage if you upload photos as “high quality” rather than “original quality.” You can test this through the Google Photos settings on your web browser, or open up the Photos app on your phone and check your settings there. Look for “Back up & sync” and then “Upload Size.” Select “high quality” if it’s not already checked.

If you’re using the Google Photos app for iOS, then you will find the upload-size setting by tapping on the three bars in the upper left-hand corner of the app, touching the gear icon, and choosing “Back up & sync.”

2. Put your Google photos in a real book

Just because your photos are digital doesn’t mean they can’t step into the real world. Google offers a photo-book service that lets you choose pictures, lay them out, and order a physical book for a keepsake or a gift. It’s a sweet way to remember a fabulous vacation or share family photos with the grandparents.

You can create a photo book from within the iOS or Android app, or through a browser. The books are made in the USA and can hold up to 100 photos. You simply select the pictures from your Google Photos archive and follow the wizard to build your book. You can fill in a title, adjust photos, and move them around. The books start at around $10 and you have a choice between softcover or hardcover.

Spiff up your Android photography skills with our tricks for fantastic photos.

3. Find your pets fast

Google has figured out that people really, really love to photograph their pets. Photos now uses its machine learning skills to tell your pets apart and treat them the same way it does individual people. If you have five identical chihuahuas, this might not work so well, but Photos is pretty good at picking out different colors and breeds of cats and dogs.

You can embrace this new feature by going to the “People & Pets” section of Google Photos, which appears under “Albums” on both the website and the app. You can assign names to your pets and Google will categorize photos with the right label, just as it does with humans. Then, you just search for “Ms. Fluffytoes” to find all your cute cat pics.

Google may also use this pet information to create an automatically generated “Doggie Movie” or “Meow Movie” slideshow video set to music, so keep an eye out for a notification. Don’t worry if it doesn’t show up. You can always make your own. Keep reading to learn how.

Don’t lose your best buddy. Check out these pet trackers and GPS collars.

4. Create a video slideshow

As enjoyable as it is to just browse through photos, you can bump up the fun level by creating a shareable Google Photos slideshow set to music. The easiest way to do this is within the Photos Android app. Open it up, select the pictures you want to include, tap the + sign at the top, and choose “Movie.” Another way to get into this is by selecting the “Assistant” option and choosing “Movie,” which prompts you to select up to 50 photos or videos from your library.

The app will put the slideshow together from your selections. You can then title it, add visual effects, add or remove photos, and choose a soundtrack song. Once you have the slideshow arranged to your liking, you can share it with friends or on YouTube.

5. Scan your physical photographs

Google’s PhotoScan app is available for both Android and iOS. It turns your phone into a handheld scanner for digitizing printed photographs. The app walks you through a simple process for capturing each photo. It automatically removes glare, or you can turn off the glare-removal feature for quick one-capture scans.

PhotoScan will add your scanned images into your Google Photos library, letting you archive those old prints that have been piling up in shoeboxes in your closet. It’s an easy way to bring your old pictures into the digital age and the integration with Google Photos means you can manage and share them along with all your digital snaps.

Protect your memories. Don’t let your old videos, music, and photos slip away.

Do you have a stack of VHS tapes, cassettes, vinyl records, or printed photos? It’s time to digitize them so you can revisit your past with ease and declutter your storage spaces.

Click here to learn how to keep your analog archives safe forever.

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