Google Photos

Google Photos is the first full media management solution on cloud and must I say, its comprehensive. Built on Google’s immense infrastructure, ‘Photos’ solve a real problem : “How to enjoy all those pics and videos you have amassed in last 15 years of digital revolution”.

Here is how I think, the four legs sitting up from end user standpoint

First the user interface. Simple , fast and clean. Powerful search and meaningful search aids.

The UI flows equally good on browser , iOS or Android . I have tested browser and iOS. I am assuming Android should be equally good. For the first time Google’s mobile apps have more features then corresponding web application. For example you can create stories , montages and albums; only on mobile apps though I wish the web interface too had these features.

Photos also come up with all the cool features of Google Plus e.g. Animations , discover cards , automated stories. The face detection is good. Pretty close (if not better ) than Picasa or iPhoto. Other day, I learnt that Google is using Tensor Flow (Google’s machine learning platform) to face detect your friends. Whatever that means , the bottom line is it can search a needle in haystack :-)

Social sharing is common these days. Google photos take it the new level. You can search and share. Lets say you search Goden Gate bridge, Google photos allows you to directly share the search results without having to first save them in a album.

The second part is how to get all the pics from your PC , Mac and mobile phones into one single place. Here come the back up tools

I think Google has been really smart here for example if you have same picture on two devices, it doesn’t create two copies. If you have large collections of pics and vids on your PC , the first upload takes some time based on your internet speed but the subsequent sync up is very fast. For my ~100 gigs upload , it took almost 20 hours. There on , its lightening fast. Back up works equally well on my iPhone and iPad. Again , it makes sure photo-steamed pics are loaded only once. You can choose to use data or wifi for back up.

The third part is management of all the media files . Unlike face book or Google Plus , Google photos show all your pics and vids in Google Drive. Nice folders, structured on month and year.

So now you don’t have to delete one photo at a time. Google drive is probably best in class file management system. In addition to regular chores such as copy , rename, delete etc ; Google drive allows you to edit photos ( and videos) with host of third party applications. And you can share specific folders with friends. This sharing is more powerful than sharing from Google Photos interface cuz drive sharing can provide edit rights .

The fourth and last thing is cost. Isn’t it amazing that all this is free if you use standard quality for file upload. Standard quality means a slightly lower quality then original. You wont see the difference on any of the devices you normally use. But for a purists, who want to keep original quality, the storage cost is same as any other file on google drive. You can get a Terabyte for ten buck a month. Hundred gigs are two dollars a month.

All this for a cup of coffee!! .. Pretty amazing deal.

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