The Business Value of Google Photos

By Mike Elgan Print this article Print
Google Photos

Google's powerful but easy-to-use cloud service offers little-known features for business users, who can take photos as a way to capture information quickly.

Share Very Large Photos Without Giving Up Control

You can share photos on photo-sharing sites, social networks or—the least efficient way—by sending them via email. In fact, if you send an image attachment that exceeds the maximum allowable size on the recipient's email system, that message may be blocked.

The most elegant, fastest, most secure and most compatible way to share pictures—one that does not require anyone to sign up for any kind of service—is to share directly from Google Photos.

This is especially powerful if you want to share photos that are large in size or number. With Google Photos, there's no penalty for sharing a lot of photos. Simply select the pictures and click on the "Share" button, choose "New shared album," then click "Copy." Now paste the link in email, on social networks or wherever your recipients are.

Anyone with the link can see these photos, but viewers will need to sign in to their Google account to comment.

Best of all, you can review the photos you've shared and even revoke the links you've shared so nobody can see them anymore. Just click on the More Options menu (three dots) on the desktop version and choose "Shared."

Connecting the Dots

Have you ever had that "Have we met before?" experience? Let's say you meet someone at a business conference, and neither of you can remember where you've met before. Just take picture of that person, drop it into Google Photos, and let Google do the rest. That person could show up in a photo of another conference, a wedding, a college team or wherever. This trick gets better over time as you add pictures of everything and everyone in your life.

You also can tell Google Photos what your pictures are about. Each photo stored on Google Photos shows a circle with an "i" in it. By clicking on that symbol, you'll see a pop-out window with basic information like the time and date the photo was taken, what the filename is, how big the picture is, what the resolution is and the camera used to take the picture. You'll also see the location where the picture was taken—if you have that feature turned on.

Above all that information is an "Add a description" field where you can write anything you like, such as keywords, names, content descriptions, etc. In this way, you're teaching Google Photos what's in the picture, while also giving the system information about other pictures that are recognized as part of the same scene.

So, for example, if you take five pictures of a whiteboard on the same day and add information about the photo on only one of them—say, "budget meeting"—you can find all the pictures taken on that day. Just search for "budget meeting," and you'll see the photo you tagged. Click on the down arrow above the result, and Google Photos will show you all the photos you took on that day.

Just to be clear on the implications of this tip: If you can't find a photo via search, just search for any picture taken that day, then click on the down arrow to see all that day's photos.

Turn on Location for Powerful Search Capabilities

You can tell your phone to automatically geotag photos, which will encode the picture file with information about where the photo was taken. When photos are geotagged, you'll see the exact coordinates of where that photo was taken by clicking or tapping on the information button—the circle with the "i" in it—in either the browser or the mobile version. Some people are queasy about sharing their location, which is why most of them don't turn that feature on.

The main benefit of geotagging is search. If you can remember the city, state or country where a picture was taken, it's easier to find photos. Turn on geotagging on the iPhone by tapping on the Settings icon and choosing "Privacy," then "Location Services." Tap on the camera icon and choose "While Using the App."

On Android devices, tap on the camera icon and tap the hamburger menu. Then go to "Settings" and tap the button to turn on "Save location."

The good news is that you can enjoy the benefits of geotagged photos without revealing location information to the public. Go into the Google Photos settings and choose "Remove geo location in items shared by link." (This is the default, so you'll probably need to make sure it's selected.)

This means when you share photos or albums from Google Photos, those photos will not display the location. And when you share on social networks, you have to explicitly choose to share location, so you can't accidentally share photo locations on sites like Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Google recently added the ability to comment on shared photo albums. By simply sharing an album, you now get a comment box at the bottom.

Google Photos is much more than just a simple, easy-to-use photo service. It transforms what photos are and how they can be used. By mastering the art of Google Photos, you can enjoy all the service's powerful benefits.

This article was originally published on 2016-06-27
Mike Elgan is a Silicon Valley-based columnist, writer, speaker and blogger. Go here for more: http://elgan.com/
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