Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Google Photos is Less Than Meets The Eye

This summer Google introduced Google Photos, a photo and video storage service. Google Photos received generally good reviews from the tech press. To its credit Google Photos gives users unlimited photo and video storage. It also allows users to back their photos up to Google Photos' cloud service so that they can access them on any of their devices. It also has editing tools on par with Instagram and other photo and video services. For people who primarily want a service for storing their photos and videos, Google Photos does have a lot to commend itself.

Unfortunately, for many Google+ users, Google Photos has proven to be a rather large disappointment. Quite simply, most power users on Google+ post a wide array of photos, many of them not personal. On any given day I post photos for celebrity birthdays, memes, classic pin ups, and so on. In Google+ Photos I could easily separate the celebrity birthday photos, memes, and so on from my personal photos by highlighting my personal photos and removing any non-personal photos from Highlights. Anyone looking at the photos tab on my profile would then only see my personal photos. Sadly, there is no practical way to separate personal photos from non-personal photos on Google Photos if one has posted several photos every single day to Google+ for the past four years. While Google's slogan for Google Photos is " All your photos organised and easy to find", for anyone who posts a large number of photos to Google+ it is nothing of the sort.

The other reason that Google Photos is a huge disappointment for Google+ users is precisely the editing tools many reviewers liked so much. True, they on are on par with Instagram and other services, but that is just the problem. Google+ Photos had advanced tools for editing that went far beyond anything that Instagram and other services had to offer. While these tools were not quite the equal of Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop, they came as close as a web based editor probably could. Unfortunately when Google introduced Google Photos, they also yanked Google+ Photos' advanced editing tools. Google+ users accustomed to being able to create rather spectacular effects with Google+ Photos editing tools would naturally be disappointed with Google Photos' rather meagre tools in comparison.

Beyond Google Photos not being a particularly good way for Google+ power users to organise their photos and the fact that Google removed Goolge+ Photos' very useful and powerful editing tools, I myself find Google Photos not particularly easy to navigate on the web. One basically has to scroll down until he or she finds the photo he or she wants-- unlike Google+ Photos there is no calendar where one can click on the date that a photo was taken or uploaded. Quite frankly, if I weren't using Google+, I'd prefer Google's Picassa Web Albums when it comes to simply wanting to look at my photos or sort them! Now many might point out I could organise my photos into albums. The problem with that is that for someone like me who has posted a huge number of photos to Google+ for years it would take literally days, perhaps weeks.

In the end Google Photos is not a bad service as far as photo and video storage goes. If one has never used Google+ and only wants to use the service to store one's personal photos, I would fully recommend it. But if one is a Google+ user, especially one who posts a large number of assorted photos, not all of them personal, it can be an absolute nightmare. I do hope Google plans to keep Google+ Photos in place for Google+ users, as Google Photos is wholly inadequate to managing photos on Google+. I also hope they give us our powerful editing tools back. Many might like Google Photos. I really do not.

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