In recent years, Google has reshuffled its product line to provide newer features and consolidate services. As such, Google+ has rightfully become a top tool for all of the photos stored on your Google account. Of course, this makes it very easy to share your photos with whomever you want, but you can do a lot more than just share. Make sure you take advantage of everything Google+ photos have to offer.
If you have Google+ installed on your mobile device, you can have it automatically upload all pictures that you take to your Google+ account. This setting is available in the Google+ app settings and should have three options: upload on WiFi and cellular, upload on WiFi, and don’t upload. Of course, you can always manually upload pictures of your choosing. Photos uploaded using this feature are private by default. If you want them to be public, you have to choose so specifically. Once your pictures have been uploaded, you can switch over to the desktop version of Google+ for more options.
For best quality, it’s important to go into the Google+ settings and choose “Upload my photos at full size”. It’ll take up more room, but a lot of people have enough storage space anyways.
Photo Editing and Auto-Enhancement
Google+ can do a lot more than store or share your pictures — you can also edit them right in your browser. Additionally, any photos you upload to Google+ are automatically enhanced. You can adjust the “enhancements” on a per photo basis, or you can disable auto enhancement in your Google+ settings.
When you first click on one of your pictures, you’ll see Share, Edit, Slideshow, and More buttons. Share and Slideshow are pretty self-explanatory, and the Edit and More options can be used to fine-tune your picture. You’ll also see a handful of metadata about your picture, including the location (which can be added if your camera didn’t include it), date, dimensions, camera model, focal length, aperture size, exposure, F number, ISO, flash, and exposure bias.
The Edit option will give you a list of basic and creative adjustments. Items include:
- Tune Image — change things like brightness, contrast, and saturation
- Selective Adjust — same as Tune Image except you can apply changes to just certain areas of your photos
- Details — tweaks sharpness and structure
- Crop and Rotate
- Black and White
- Center Focus — creates a central focal point by changing the blur, center brightness, and edge brightness
- Tilt-Shift — similar to Center Focus but with more control; primarily adds blurs
- Vintage — add vintage-looking filters and customize blur and intensity
- Retrolux — recreates the look of older cameras with lighting effects (“leaks), scratches, and more
While you’re in the Edit mode, you can easily compare with the original picture as well as revert your changes.
It’s also here where you can also customize the changes applied by the auto enhancer.
Back out in the More option, you can add the picture to an album, download the picture, toggle the auto enhancer, and toggle the Highlights feature. The Highlights feature selects what it thinks are the best photos in your album. This can be especially useful if you’ve upload a large amount of photos with many recurring ones.
Besides Share, Edit, Slideshow, and More, you have quick options to rotate right (click repeatedly if you ultimately want a “rotate left” effect), zoom in, crop, and delete.
Google+ also has a feature called “Auto Awesome” where it can recognize that you’ve taken a number of photos in succession and perform certain tasks automatically. The list includes:
- HDR — creates a High Dynamic Range picture (which results in better light and shadow) if you snap the same picture/setting in high, mid, and low exposure settings.
- Motion — creates a repeating short animation if you create five or more pictures in succession.
- Smile — creates the best picture if you take several group pictures. Google will choose the best smiles and add them into one photo.
- Pano — create a panorama of multiple pictures with overlapping landscape.
- Mix — creates a photobooth-style grid of portrait photos with similar backgrounds.
You can disable Auto Awesome in the Google+ settings.
Search Your Pictures From Google Search
You can find your Google+ photos directly from Google Search. All you have to do is type “my photos of
Google+ and Picasa
There’s also a lot of confusion between Google+ and Picasa. While Picasa has been the primary name for Google’s picture storage since 2004, it has since migrated to Google+ once the social network had matured enough. Therefore, none of the Picasa albums have been lost, but rather moved over to Google+. Picasa itself as a software package hasn’t been discontinued either; instead, it now works with Google+ albums as long as you’ve upgraded to a recent version of Picasa. For those who don’t know, Picasa is a desktop photo manager that can manage all of your photos and apply edits to them as you deem fit. The software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (via Wine).
So, to recap, Picasa Web Albums have migrated to Google+, and the Picasa software package still exists and the latest versions can access the Google+ albums just like before.
Google+ has certainly become more useful in the last several months, and all of its photo features make it that much better. There are definitely a lot of different ones that you can make use of to get the most out of Google+ and your photos. Plus I’m sure that Google will be adding plenty of other features over time aimed at photos, so it’ll be interesting to see what Google still has in store.
What’s your favorite Google+ photo feature? Is there a certain feature that you don’t like or simply don’t use? Let us know in the comments!
Photo Credit: dsevilla