Friday, October 20, 2017

(archive) Google Photos is amazing!

(11/3/22)This is an archived blog post from my personal website's old blog. Since then, Google Photos has updated, including no more truly unlimited storage, as well as a lack of meaningful features added, while undoing what used to be Picasa and public photo sharing. In fact, I have switched to using imgur and youtube because those tools actually allow public sharing, and are free and unlimited.

Searching for almost anything is just one of the amazing things Google Photos can do.

Google Photos is a place to store lots of photos and videos. If that doesn't already beat the competition, it has a million other features for users to use.

First off, it comes with unlimited storage at high video and photo quality. If you are a pro photographer who needs maximum resolution in photos, you might want to try something else or pay for Google storage, but for a normal user Google Photos keeps great quality.

Second, like in the image above, Google uses its AI to be able to search for nearly anything. Grant it, there are one or two video results that aren't from Overwatch in the above image, but I have searched for many other games, like Battlefront, Ravenfield, and even mobile games like Smashy Road, and Google successfully found videos from each game, with a few extras. I even searched for cars, and the first 2 results were videos from a random mobile car simulator app I found once for my Shield tablet.

Speaking of AI, the AI can also create its own videos and photos from your content. For my video game replays Google doesn't identify what a good or bad play is, but sometimes it will grab random snippets from videos, put them in a separate video, and add some music to make a 30 second daily highlight. It can also make GIF animations of similar looking images or videos. Once, I took screenshots of my PC setup in the dark, and Photos created a cool GIF of the setup with the keyboard lights moving. It can also combine photos to create panoramas. Some of these features, and more, are available to the user under the "assistant" tab on the website.

Originally, Photos was Picasa Photos, but then Google bought them. However, Google kept a lot of the infrastructure of Picasa's tool, including its API. With a little troubleshooting and coding of my own, I was able to use the API to construct the ShadowPlay videos page to retrieve my videos and display them on my website. However, one downside to Google Photos is that they do not have public albums, so I had to use my one and only album kept before Picasa went down (I guess) and rename it. Other than that, the API is limited, and sort of read-only, unless you want to mess around with OAuth (1 or 2? the Picasa API documentation wasn't that clear...)

Last, I didn't have to manually upload 200 videos to ShadowPlay, and I don't have to upload each individual video either, because Google features a desktop auto backup program. It will look in a folder for new videos and photos and upload them, so when I capture a replay in ShadowPlay, it will automatically upload the new video. Hope you enjoyed reading this article, and hope you try out the amazing features of Google Photos! Check back here for more blog posts like this one!

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