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Google Photos review

Google Photos
Our Rating :

Google Photos provides an excellent free service for those who simply want to upload and browse their pics


Uploads: unlimited free (up to 16-megapixel photos and 1080p video) Supported photo formats: jpg, webp, gif, crw, cr2, nef, dng, orf, raf, arw, pef, srw, rw2, bmp, ico, tiff. Supported video formats: mpg, mod, mmv, tod, wmv, asf, avi, divx, mov, m4v, 3gp, 3g2, mp4, m2t, m2ts, mts, mkv


At present Google photos will let you select one or multiple photos and share them to Twitter and Facebook. Cleverly, there’s also an option to create a ‘Shareable link’ which you can then message or email to someone. Clicking the link brings up a web page with all the selected photos, which they can then download or add to their Google Photos library. You can manage your shared links and delete ones you’re done with if desired.

It’s a shame that editing is so basic, with just four sliders to control brightness, colour, saturation and vignette. You can also crop and select from a range of filters. You can improve dull exposures, but without even the most basic spot tools there’s no way of fixing any annoyances that have crept into the frame.

Google Photos editing

There’s only the most basic tools for editing photos

Google Photos also plays with your images in creative ways. It automatically creates collages, panoramas and even ‘stories’ using them. The latter uses date and location data to create a page-by-page slideshow of photos, adding in Google Maps to show your travels. All of these were a bit hit-and-miss on one of our test accounts, failing to find panoramas and eschewing great animation fodder, while it worked well on another account. You can add or remove photos from a story, but only the ones Google decides are from that particular event. You can also disable the feature altogether if you prefer to leave your photos in their original state.

Google Photos stories

The ‘stories’ can look great, but while you can edit the text you can’t change the running order

Conclusion and comparisons

With unlimited uploads, a great mobile app, easy sharing and a powerful search tool, Google Photos is a good thing for many Android users. Casual snappers could also find it useful as somewhere to put their digital photos. However, it’s not so great if you’ve got a big curated collection of photos that you want to upload, or transfer from another service.

It desperately needs some tweaks, including a way to fix bad metadata, some proper editing tools, and manual control over animations or panoramas. We’d expect the service to evolve over time in these respects, but today it’s a sound choice for those who simply want somewhere safe to store their photos. It’s convenient too if you’re already using Google products such as Drive, Android and Chrome. 

There are alternatives of course: Windows Phone users will likely use OneDrive, and iPhone owners have iCloud. Flickr is the other obvious contender, with apps for all operating systems and a practically unlimited 1TB of free storage. However, that free option is supported by adverts and it’s yet another app with another account password, which will put off many who just want something simple.

While Google Photos is in its infancy, its search algorithms alone make it a strong contender. It might not yet something to get excited about, but if your photos are languishing, unseen, unshared and unarchived, then it’s an easy way to turn it all around.

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