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32 tips and tricks for Google Photos

JR Raphael | Dec. 12, 2016
Got Google Photos? This guide will help you get around the service like a pro.

21. Google has a handy tool for "scanning" your old printed photos directly into your collection via your phone's camera. It's called PhotoScan, and it works with most any Android or iOS device.

22. Google Photos may generally be a cloud-centric service, but if you feel more comfortable keeping a local copy of your entire image collection, there is a way. First, you'll need to download and install the free Google Drive app for macOS or Windows. Make sure it's set up to sync everything in your Drive to a folder on your computer.

Next, head to the Drive website, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, select "Settings" and then check the box next to "Create a Google Photos folder." That'll put a folder with all your photos into your Drive storage. And since you already have Drive set to sync with your computer, that folder will always remain backed up and synced -- both ways -- with your corresponding local folder.

23. For a one-time batch download of your entire collection -- without the ongoing two-way sync -- visit Google's Takeout tool.

Sharing and showing

24. Photos makes it easy to share your images with anyone -- whether they use the service themselves or not. The simplest way is to select any image or images, tap the share icon at the top of the screen and then select "Create link" from the mobile app or "Get link" from the website. Anyone you send the link to will be able to view the photos and optionally add them into their own Photos collection (if they do use the service).

You'll also see an option to let other people add their own photos into the album -- if, say, you're sharing photos from a family event and want everyone to be able to contribute.

25. Need to manage or delete a shared album? Open the app's main menu and select "Shared." Select whichever album you want, then tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner to find sharing options along with the option to delete the album entirely.

26. If you want to be sure your location is never included with any images you share, go to Photos' main settings and look for the item labeled "Remove geo location" from the mobile app or "Remove geo location in items shared by link" from the website.

27. Got a TV with Chromecasting capability? Show off your photos on the big screen by tapping the cast icon in the upper-right corner of the mobile app (it should appear anytime a cast-ready TV is available). Once you're connected, just tap any image to have it beamed to your television. If you want to have multiple images display in a slideshow, open an image (either from your full collection or from an album) and then tap the menu icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and select "Slideshow."


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