From recognizing faces and sorting photos by location to creating slideshows and videos, Google Photos can help to both safely store the photos that tell a person's life story and to organize the photos that tell the story of ancestors' lives, said Devin Ashby of FamilySearch during a RootsTech conference class on Thursday afternoon.
Google Photos is an app for both mobile and desktop devices and it's a tool available with a Gmail account. Here are several of the ways Ashby shared to use Google Photos to preserve your family history.
1. Cost. Users can store unlimited amounts of 16 megapixel photos and 1080p resolution video at no cost, he said. For those who want to keep larger file sizes, storage is limited. That shouldn't be a problem for most users, considering most smartphones don't take higher quality photos or videos anyway, Ashby said.
2. Clearing up space. As long as there is a Wi-Fi connection, people can sync the photo library on their phone to Google Photos. Once those have been uploaded, they can be deleted from the device.
3. Automatic sorting by location. The app automatically sorts your photos based on location or who is in the photo, Ashby said. For example, if a person goes skiing every weekend at the same resort and she takes lots of pictures there, Google Photos will put all those photos in one folder so they can be found easily.
4. Tagging people. Similarly, the app uses powerful facial recognition software to filter photos by who appears them, Ashby said. So when it's a loved one's birthday and a person wants to post a picture of them on Instagram, Google Photos will put all the photos available of that person in one place, allowing the perfect picture to be found without scrolling through the entire photo library, he said.
5. Sharing photos. Once photos are uploaded, they are very easy to share, Ashby said. To share, add in the email address of the person you want to share it with, and then they will have instant access to them. This makes collaborative albums on family vacations a breeze, Ashby said.
6. Sideshows and videos. Not only does Google Photos allow users to upload, organize and share their videos, it also lets them create easy slideshows and videos, Ashby said. Go through and select what photos and videos to include and then the app will put them all into a slideshow or video, he said. There is free licensed music available to add to videos to give them that extra dramatic flair, he said.
7. Digitizing and scanning prints. A big part of family history is digitizing old family photos, Ashby said. The problem is that this often requires expensive and slow scanners, or taking a photo with a digital camera which often leaves a glare, he said. PhotoScan, another Google app developed to go alongside Google Photos, allows users to digitize a photo in seconds while avoiding the glare you get with regular cameras, he said.
Google Photos: Photos. For Life.