If you have not yet discovered Google Photos, get the app for your iPhone or Android phone and it uploads your photos and stores them online as you take them. Only you can access them, unless you use the sharing features we will see in a minute, and the storage is unlimited for images under 16 megapixels.
That means pretty much every phone camera can store every photo, ever!
Google Photos can be accessed on your phone or tablet through the mobile app, but you can also view your snapshots in a web browser on any computer. I will be using Chrome on a Windows 10 PC, but you could just as easily use Safari on an Apple Mac or Firefox on Linux. It’s up to you. That’s one of the great features.
One or more photographs in Google Photos can be selected and shared, you can select a whole album, or create a shared album from photos. Google will even suggest who to share the snapshots with. That’s quite useful.
Google Photos on the web
Go to photos.google.com to access your photo collection. Select Photos on the left to view your photos sorted by date. Here are some photos I took back in January. Click individual photos or click the date to select all the photos taken on a particular day. Click more days to add more photos.
After selecting some photos, click the Share button in the top right corner. Videos end up in Google Photos and they can be included in the selection too.
Google suggests people you might want to share these photos with. I’m not sure how it chooses, but it seemed to suggest family members with the same last name. It also suggested people I had recently contacted in Gmail. Click one or more people to share your photos with.
Set the permissions
Down at the bottom of this people list are several useful items. One is All contacts, which lists every contact in Google Mail/Contacts. There is also a place to enter a message. This appears in an email that is automatically sent to the people you share the photos with, so you could say something like “Come and look at the photos I have shared with you.”
There is also a padlock icon. Click it and there are two options. You can let the people you selected add photos or only you can add photos. That’s your choice.
Click the Send button and you’re done. The people you selected receive an email notifying them that you have shared photos with them. It has a button to open Photos.
Use the assistant
Another way to share photos is by selecting the Assistant on the left, then click Shared album.
Create an album
Browse your photos and click the ones you want to see in the new album. Then click the Create button in the top right corner.
Name the album
There is an opportunity to name the photo album and then you can click the Share button to share it. It is shared exactly as before and you can select people from the suggestions list, all your contacts, or by email address. You can also choose whether they are allowed to add photos to the album.
View shared albums
When people get the notification about shared albums and photos, they click the link to open Google Photos. The menu in the top right corner has useful options, such as viewing the images as a slideshow, downloading them, and so on.
View your albums
Select Albums on the left and you can see the shared albums, plus others that Google has automatically created, like Places, Things, Videos and more.
See who’s joined
When a shared album is opened for the first time you’ll see a message like this. You can just see a tiny thumbnail of me next to that blue blob. The original owner and the person who shared the photos appears first and they are followed by the other people the album has been shared with. It’s a bit like the way Pinterest does shared boards and there’s a list of people.
These sharing features could be useful for family members and you could easily create one and share it with your partner, grown up children, grandparents and so on.
Everyone could then not only see photos, but add their own to build great shared albums for events like birthdays, weddings, days out and so on.
Have you tried this feature yet? What do you think of it?